Challenge alleges the residential address Ley provided the Clark County Elections Department for his voter registration information is not correct
An area resident has filed a voter registration challenge to the declaration of candidacy submitted by Camas resident John Ley to run for state representative, position 2, in the 18th Legislative District.
Vancouver resident Carolyn Crain submitted the challenge Thursday, alleging that the residential address Ley provided the Clark County Elections Department for his voter registration information is not correct.
“She has provided documentation of what she believes is evidence to support that,’’ Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey told Clark County Today Friday. “John has been informed of this and may also provide evidence that he does reside at the address in his voter registration record.’’
Kimsey has already begun the process of scheduling a hearing on the matter.
“I will conduct a hearing where she (Crain) must appear and John Ley may appear,’’ Kimsey said. “After that hearing I will decide if her allegation is correct or if it is not correct. My decision may be appealed to a Superior Court Judge.’’
The documents that have been submitted at this point are available online.
The documents show that Ley owns a home in Camas, but he used a Battle Ground address for his voter registration. The Battle Ground home is owned by a personal friend of Ley.
“He and I reached an agreement that I can rent a room out of that house,’’ Ley explained. “My friends are snowbirds. All winter and spring they live in Arizona, so they’re gone. As a friend, initially, I was going there from time to time to see if everything is OK.’’
Ley has lived in Clark County since 1991. He previously ran for a seat in the Washington State Senate in the 18th Legislative District. However, during last year’s redistricting process, his Camas address was moved inside the boundary of the 17th Legislative District.
“In the aftermath of the redistricting, I approached my friends to rent a room,’’ Ley said. “So this spring I changed my address there. As far as I know and can tell from the state constitution and Washington law, there is no minimum required amount of time for living in any residence or location. The only requirement that I saw is that you have to be a registered voter at that location for 30 days prior to filing as a candidate for election and I met that.’’
Ley said there is a specific reason why he filed for the seat in the 18th Legislative District, rather than file in the 17th District where he owns his home.
“The answer resides in my passion for serving the people and fighting the Interstate Bridge replacement project,’’ Ley said. “I would like a seat on the Bi-state Bridge Committee of 16 legislators and given the current composition and realities, (Rep.) Paul Harris and (Sen. Lynda Wilson are the legislators of the 17th District that are already on the committee.
“The example of (Rep.) Vicki Kraft trying to fight for common sense and have a voice on that committee rang true to me. She has tried to do the right thing, but the politics have not allowed her to get a seat on the committee in spite of her passion and interest,’’ Ley said. “When it became clear that both (Rep.) Brandon Vick and (Rep.) Larry Hoff were not going to run for reelection, that guaranteed a seat on the Bi-state Bridge Committee would come open. While it is by no means a guarantee that I could get that seat on the committee of legislators, my hope is that should the people elect me, I would then work in Olympia to be allowed to have that open seat, which is currently occupied by Brandon Vick.
“We don’t have enough legislators asking hard questions about the project,’’ Ley added. “With a seat at the table, I would be able to help Sen. Wilson and others who would ask hard questions and demand legitimate answers instead of being ignored or mislead like we are today.’’
Ley said he anticipated the challenge to his voter registration and he welcomes the review process identified by Kimsey.
“I have been in Clark County now, officially, since January of 1991 so that’s over 30 years,’’ Ley said. “I know the issues. I know the people. Having been a candidate for office, I have met with citizens, attended council meetings all over Clark County and feel very comfortable offering my services to represent the people. In this instance, both my old and new districts have overlapped, and as noted, a line was changed. I felt this is how I can best effect change, especially with regards to the Interstate Bridge replacement program, and that was by getting a seat on the Bi-state Legislative Committee.
“Clearly, there is going to be a process and I will welcome that,’’ Ley said. “Was there a subsection of the RCWs that I missed? The core issue is we allow homeless people to register to vote on election day and they are given a ballot. They can name a street corner or a city park and there is no follow up for confirmation on if or how long they have resided there. They are legally allowed to vote. That may be good; it may be bad. But, it’s the law.’’
Ley offered several other examples of voter registration laws that could be reviewed.
“I’m happy to champion changes to the system,’’ he said. “It opens the door for a very appropriate discussion on election integrity.’’
Editor’s note: John Ley is a former Clark County Today reporter and content contributor. After 20 months as a full-time reporter, Ley resigned his position on April 22, prior to registering as a political candidate.