Kimsey tells Clark County Today that his ruling doesn’t affect Ley’s candidacy for state representative in the 18th Legislative District
Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey has ruled in favor of an area resident’s voter registration challenge of Clark County resident John Ley, who is a current candidate for state representative, position 2, in the 18th Legislative District. Kimsey told Clark County Today his decision does not change Ley’s candidacy.
“It doesn’t affect it,’’ said Kimsey, referring to his ruling and Ley’s candidacy. “The voter registration challenge was his address as of May 26, 2022. That’s all it was.’’
Kimsey said the Clark County Elections Department has no reason to prevent Ley’s name from being placed on the ballot for the Aug. 2 primary election. Ley is one of four candidates who have filed for the seat. The others are Duncan Camacho, Greg Cheney and Brad Benton.
Ley filed his declaration of candidacy on May 17 using a Battle Ground address. On May 26, Vancouver resident Carolyn Crain submitted a challenge, providing a statement and evidence that Ley did not actually reside at the Battle Ground address he used to change his voter registration on April 1 and that he was residing in the home he owns in Camas.
Kimsey conducted a hearing on June 28. Both Crain and Ley appeared at the hearing and presented their evidence and testimony. In a finding dated July 8, Kimsey offered his findings.
“As described above clear and compelling evidence supports Ms. Crain’s challenge of Mr. Ley’s residential address in his voter registration record as of May 26, 2022, that challenge is upheld,’’ Kimsey wrote.
Kimsey’s July 8 letter can be viewed here.
Ley claimed that he had a verbal agreement with the owner of the Battle Ground residence to rent a bedroom at the rate of $1 per month. Kimsey provided this timeline from the evidence submitted at the June 28 hearing:
• On April 1, Ley entered into the verbal rental agreement, leasing a bedroom in the Battle Ground home for $1 a month.
• On April 4, Ley registered to vote at the Battle Ground address.
• On May 17, Ley filed his declaration of candidacy for the 18th Legislative District seat.
• At some point in April or May, one of the homeowners returned from Arizona and resided at the Battle Ground home and Ley testified that he did not stay at the home when the homeowners were there.
• On May 26, Crain’s challenge to Ley’s voter registration was received by the Clark County Elections Department.
• On June 3, Ley changed registration of a vehicle he owned to the Battle Ground address.
• Only July 4, Ley registered to vote at a different address in Hazel Dell, which is in the 18th Legislative District.
“A reasonable observer would conclude from this that instead of physically residing at the Battle Ground home he had listed on his voter registration form that Mr. Ley’s residence was the home in Camas that he owns at which he was previously registered to vote,’’ Kimsey wrote in his conclusion.
As Kimsey stated, his ruling only addresses whether or not Ley was residing at the Battle Ground address on May 26, the day he received Crain’s complaint.
Kimsey told Clark County Today that there are only two provisions that would prevent the Elections Department from placing Ley’s name on the ballot. The first would be a challenge to his declaration of candidacy made to a judge within two days of the closing of the candidate filing period, which was May 20. Crain’s challenge was made to the Elections Department on May 26.
The timeline for the second provision will come after the Aug. 2 primary election. A challenge can be made within three days after the results of the primary election are certified, asking a judge to prevent the Elections Department from placing a candidate’s name on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.
“Those are the two provisions where a candidate’s name can be prevented from being placed on the ballot,’’ said Kimsey, who reiterated his July 8 ruling did not have an immediate impact on Ley’s candidacy. “It doesn’t affect his name being on the ballot and it doesn’t affect our ability to count votes on the ballot for Mr. Ley.’’
Ley declined comment when reached by Clark County Today Friday.
“There are still questions I need to have answered so I am not prepared to comment at this time,’’ he said.
Editor’s note: John Ley is a former Clark County Today staff reporter. Like other members of the community he occasionally still contributes content. After 20 months as a full-time reporter, Ley resigned his position on April 22, prior to registering as a political candidate.
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