Kent tells Thursday gathering that he doesn’t expect the current recount to change the outcome of the election
For Clark County Today
At a Thursday night Patriot’s United event in Washougal, Republican 3rd Congressional Candidate Joe Kent announced his intentions to run for the position once again in the next election.
“I’m running again in 2024,” said Kent, who recently challenged the results of the 2022 election that declared Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez the winner.
Even with the partial recount conducted Thursday, Kent said that he doesn’t expect the results to make much of a difference, regardless of the outcome.
“The election has already been certified,” he said, adding that he will not concede until he has “reached the limit of all we can do.” However, he added that he would have conceded weeks ago “had we received the results in a timely manner … but that’s not what happened.”
In the last results released on Nov. 29, Kent trailed Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez by 2,629 votes. The margin between the two candidates was less than 1 percent. Perez had 160,314 votes (50.14 percent). Kent had 157,685 (49.31 percent).
Kent said that each county runs their recounts separately and mentioned that Clark County’s likely would be completed today (Dec. 16). In Clark County alone, he said, 7,000 ballots were rejected due to failing to pass signature verification, and 9,000 in all of the 3rd Congressional District.
“A lot of game day ballots were rejected,” Kent said, speaking of ballots turned in on Election Day, rather than being submitted throughout the three-week voting window. He also said that his team was able to get about 1,250 ballots turned in through their curing process that hadn’t originally been counted. A ballot is considered “cured” when a voter confirms their signature that was first rejected via letter to the Election’s Office. This means that 1,250 voters that Kent’s team was able to contact turned in their signature verification form to be tabulated as a part of the official count. This also means that those votes were not a part of the original count, and wouldn’t have been if no one had assisted with the verification process.
“That’s voter disenfranchisement,” stated Kent, who claimed during his Thursday comments that there is a potential for a legal fight against the outcome of the election and said he was looking into that option, but he mostly remained focused on the future.
Kent discussed ways he believes that he can have a better outcome for the next race, which included focusing on specific groups of voters. For example, he said that Slavic voters were also disenfranchised due to the overwhelming number of ballots rejected from that group of people and other similar minority groups. This is because of the way they sign their names in their culture, which is with block print letters rather than cursive signatures like Latin and other European countries.
“There are three weeks of voting in this state,” Kent said. “We need to start on day one of the voting window to make sure we are getting ballots in front of people, and that they’re turning them in to be counted.”
Don Benton, who lost his bid for Clark County District 5 County Councilor to Sue Marshall, spoke at the same event and said that the media’s hype for the expected “red wave” purposefully hurt his race and Kent’s.
“They gave us a sense of overconfidence,” Benton said, “and a lot of people took advantage of the fact that North County is more conservative, so they didn’t put as much effort into that race as they should have.”
On the same note, much of the theme of Thursday’s event, held at the Black Pearl on the Columbia, was regarding the need to engage with voters in a more active manner, specifically the 18– to 30-year-old category.
Patriots United leader Mike Terry pointed out that there were 49,000 fewer Republican voters who showed up to the polls in 2022 compared to 2020. Even though that was a Presidential election year, which will typically see an increase in turnout, there were still 30,000 more Republican voters in 2018 over this year.
Aside from low turnout, Clark County also appears to have an issue with timely voting tabulations. “Florida has seven million voters,” Terry said, “and they manage to count them all in one night. Why can’t we?”
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