The Clark County Elections Office will mail a notice to each unique mailing address of all active registered voters in the 18th Legislative District
VANCOUVER – Superior Court Judge David Gregerson ordered Friday that John Ley is an ineligible candidate for Washington State’s 18th Legislative District State Representative Position No. 2. In his ruling, Gregerson directed the Clark County Canvassing board, in its certification of the 2022 primary election, to not include votes cast for Ley.
Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey told Clark County Today Friday afternoon that Aug. 2 primary election ballots that are returned with votes for Ley will be counted. In addition to Ley, the other candidates for the seat in the Washington State Legislature include Brad Benton, Duncan Camacho and Greg Cheney. Two candidates will advance from the primary to the Nov. 8 general election.
“Votes for John Ley will be counted, but they will not be used to determine which two candidates will appear on the general election ballot, as per the judge’s order,’’ Kimsey said. “The ballot they receive today, or the next few days, is a valid ballot. If they return that ballot properly signed, it will be processed and tabulated.’’
On May 26, Ley’s voter registration was challenged by Vancouver resident Carolyn Crain, who alleged he did not reside at the address that he provided when updating his voter registration on April 4. Following a public hearing on June 28, the challenge to Ley’s voter registration was upheld by Kimsey.
On July 11, Crain and Penny Ross filed action with Clark County Superior Court alleging that Ley is an ineligible candidate because he was not properly registered to vote in the 18th Legislative District at the time he filed his declaration of candidacy. According to a news release from the county, today’s order is in response to Crain and Ross’s action.
The order further states “with respect to the 2022 election for the office of 18th Legislative District, State Representative, Position 2, the top two candidates . . . certified as qualified to appear on the general election ballot pursuant to RCW 29A.52.112(2), shall be the two highest vote-getters for such office other than John Ley.” In addition, “votes cast for [Ley] . . . on 2022 primary election ballots will not be used to determine which two candidates for that office [of the 18th Legislative District] will appear on the 2022 general election ballot.”
The Clark County Elections Office will mail a notice to each unique mailing address of all active registered voters in the 18th Legislative District informing them of the judge’s order and its effect. Those letters are expected to be mailed Monday.
Clark County voters began receiving their ballots for the Aug. 2 primary election on July 15. As the judge stated in his order “printing and mailing new 2022 primary election ballots without Mr. Ley’s name listed as a candidate is prohibitive.” As Kimsey stated, ballots with John Ley’s name printed on them are valid ballots and when returned by voters will be processed pursuant to federal, state and county laws.
Ley expressed his disappointment in the decision when reached by Clark County Today Friday.
“No. 1, I believe this will disenfranchise any voter who will choose to vote for me,’’ Ley said. “No. 2, I was not even invited to be a party to the hearing, nor the discussion. Most importantly, this is Greg Kimsey putting his thumb on the scale to impact an election when he is supposed to be a neutral party.’’
“The Secretary of State’s Office agreed Kimsey had made the correct ruling (on July 8) and now Kimsey is disagreeing with the secretary of state that he made the correct ruling,’’ Ley said. “Obviously, I am very disappointed to not even be a party to the process. Furthermore, I will now be evaluating my next steps.’’
Kimsey said approximately 54,000 letters will be mailed to voters in the 18th Legislative District. He didn’t know what the cost to the county would be at the time of this report.
“It will come out of the Election Reserve Fund and be included in the cost of administering the cost of the August primary,’’ Kimsey said.
Kimsey disagreed with Ley’s belief that he was “putting his thumb on the scale to impact an election.
“No, I’m not at all uneasy,’’ Kimsey said when asked about the county’s actions. “The county has been completely uninvolved in these legal actions, the actions that Carolyn Crain and Penny Ross have sought through the court system. I would entirely reject that the county has been involved in any of Carolyn Crain’s processes with the judge. All we have done is react to what’s going on.’’
Editor’s note: John Ley is a former Clark County Today staff reporter. After 20 months as a full-time reporter, Ley resigned his position on April 22, prior to registering as a political candidate. Like other members of the community he occasionally still contributes content.
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