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County chair candidates’ efforts to have every vote counted the right thing to do

Ken Vance Editorial Clarkcountytoday.com

There’s too much at stake not to make every effort to win this election

I have a friend who has spent most of his career as an executive in the National Basketball Association. One of the many philosophies that he has shared with me over the years has to do with winning and losing. He says, “any time they are keeping score, I want to win.’’

Professional sports are important to many people in this country. I’m not alone in my passion for the outcome of those games, which are meaningless to many people. By comparison, I will say that the outcome of general elections is much more important to our society than the outcome of sporting events, even on the professional level.

ClarkCountyToday.com reporter Chris Brown has done a great job keeping us all updated on the race for county chair, which more than two weeks after the Nov. 6 general election is still too close to call as Clark County Councilor Eileen Quiring leads Eric Holt by just 1,007 votes, or .54 percentage points.

The race has now advanced from the act of simply counting ballots to attempting to validate challenged ballots that have signature issues. This is primarily the responsibility of the Clark County Auditor’s Office, however, because of Washington state law, the list of challenged ballots is public information, so the campaigns of Quiring and Holt each have copies of that list.

That means representatives of both campaigns are back out knocking on doors, attempting to clear up any challenged ballots, making sure every vote in the race is counted. I don’t have any problem with that. There’s just too much at stake not to do that and like my friend told me about professional sporting events, “if they’re keeping score, I want to win.’’ And, neither campaign is breaking any law by doing so.

Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey told ClarkCountyToday.com (again, reporter Chris Brown) that he is not a fan of the challenged ballot data being public, due to the risk that campaigns could “hunt for votes.’’ The premise is that each campaign would only seek to remedy challenged ballots of voters who have voted for them.

Quiring told Brown that she has instructed her volunteers to do the honorable thing and assist in the remedy of all challenged ballots, regardless of which candidate receives the vote. Holt, in a Facebook post, has said the he and his volunteers have made the same commitment. I have absolutely no evidence that either candidate or their volunteers are doing anything other than that so I take each at their word.

Since voters in Clark County passed the Home Rule Charter in November 2014, creating the position of county chair, this is one of the most important elected positions in our county. So, let’s get this right and make sure every vote is counted prior to certification of the election, which is scheduled for Tue., Nov. 27. And, if the margin between the two candidates is less than 2,000 votes AND one half of one percent, it triggers an automatic machine recount.

Stay tuned to ClarkCountyToday.com for more developments in the race for county chair.

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About The Author

Ken Vance got his start in the newspaper industry in 1987 as a reporter at The Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Vance graduated from Stevenson High School in Stevenson, WA, and attended Clark College in Vancouver. He worked for The Columbian from 1987-2001. He was most recently a staff member of The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground, where he served as editor since 2010 and reporter since 2007. Vance’s work in the newspaper industry has won him multiple awards, including a first place award from the Society of Professional Journalists for in-depth reporting.

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