Letter: The bizarre ‘purpose’ Auditor Greg Kimsey gives election observers in Clark County

Vancouver resident Mark Engleman addresses the role of election observers in Clark County

Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author alone and do not reflect the editorial position of ClarkCountyToday.com

Election Observers are citizens who watch the processing of ballots at the election office.

Mark Engleman
Mark Engleman

Below is the stated purpose, from the official training materials for citizen election observers, that demonstrates the agenda and establishment arrogance of our incumbent auditor Greg Kimsey.

The first two circled items below are completely out of the control of the observer and only serves to give lip service to the concepts of “integrity” and “openness”.

In reality, the rules election observers have to follow basically “ensure” they cannot “confirm” much of anything.

The third and fourth item circled intends to put the observers to work to only defend the current ballot processing . . . and not to ask questions and actually encourage integrity/transparency. 

Vancouver resident Mark Engleman addresses the role of election observers in Clark County.

For this slide, go to 49 minutes in this video for training election observers in Clark County

Or here is a 20 second clip of the training with the specific comments.

Mark Engleman

Also read:


  1. Tyler Long

    Thank you for bringing attention to this serious matter. Observers should not serve as public relations representatives of the auditor’s office, which is what the current stated “purposes” turn them into. They should provide direct oversight, ensuring that the AUDITOR is conducting a secure, fair and transparent ballot count. The current auditor is failing the voters of this county.

  2. Kirk VanGelder

    I am hugely disappointed in the rules the current auditor set up for election observers…no pencil or paper to record issues……no phones to be able to record issues….no asking questions or pointing out issues to workers at all…. To top it off, there is no validation of the signature validation process, ie: tjey have no way of knowing what percentage of fraudulent ballots are cast. Once the signature is accepted, that ballot goes in to be counted and there is no way to identify it ever again. Our auditor ought to welcome challenges, not bring people up on charges for pointing out issues and getting them banned from observing. Brett Simpson is the auditor we need! And we need him now!!!

  3. Peter Hotrum

    So election observers are just there to make everyone feel good? Aren’t they supposed to be able to question operations to make sure they actually are fair/open and challenge eligibility of voters and ballots? Does Greg even know what he’s doing?

  4. Bryan White

    Isn’t that interesting? Election observers assist the election staff. Assist, but not by noting if the observers see something of concern. Assist. Meaning, cover for us. Assist.

    In this day and age where “misinformation” is used to denote anything that goes against the narrative, this is egregious at best. What is the benign, innocent explanation?

    Since the purpose of the election observer is to cover for the officials, then part of the requirement to be an election observer should include ensuring that they align politically with the officials.

    That would be more honest, since the purpose of the observer is not going to be to ensure that there is no cheating.

    The election observer they want with this description of the job could do the job just as effectively from home.

  5. Anna Miller

    As someone who has been the Party Election Observer Team Leader, I can say that Engleman is correct. Observers have no way of “ensuring” or confirming“, under the current process in which they have to work. And tell me how the EO can “dispel” rumors, damaging or not? That is not their function. Agreed, EO’s must be quiet and respectful at all times, however they MUST feel free to report any irregularity to the supervisor with the expectation that it will be taken seriously. If the auditor is sure of the work of his staff, he would welcome all input and not immediately be dismissive. Sometimes after 24 years of doing a thing, you are so invested in your work, that you can’t see the possibility that things should be improved or even fixed.

  6. Liz Cline

    As an Elections Observer in August, I experienced the frustration of the inability to make note of my observations and questions with solid details on paper.

    On one occasion I was observing signature verification and I thought I observed an issue, but I wasn’t allowed to write down what I observed. I took the issue to Kathy Garber who researched my question. Her feedback was that she didn’t see any issues. Further, she told me that my “job is to observe and not to audit”.

    Note to self: The Auditor and his staff will do whatever they want. They have their system. You can watch as a handicapped election observer, but don’t ask questions because that’s not your job.

    1. Rubicon

      As out-of-staters, when we first moved here in 1990, the first thing we observed was a population of outwardly kind, yet very compliant towards any/all “authority figures.” Until citizens here stand up and demand accountability by these figures, then the same process of acceptance with remain.

  7. Vanessa Amundson

    Thanks Mark, for bringing this important information to the attention of Clark County voters. It’s ridiculous to think that an election observer is not allowed to provide feedback or concerns (or even record with a simple pencil and paper) where needed.

    What is Kimsey trying to hide?

  8. Chuck Miller

    Chuck Miller, President of Washington Citizens For Responsible Government. I served our Community as an Election Observer a few years ago. Mark Engleman is Right On with his comments, as Observers we do not have control to insure the integrity of the voting process and not able to ask questions and encourage integrity and transparency!!! Those that have made the 10 comments below are also absolutly correct, Thank You!!!

  9. Victoria Ferrer

    I too was an election observer. I started my duty with eyes wide open. I was so excited to perform my patriotic duty and learn lots from the experience.
    Well I did learn a lot. Unfortunately it wasn’t what I was expecting. I learned what I was doing, didn’t really matter. We could not ask questions and we were told to bring up any issues/concerns with the office supervisor who was always in a meeting and never available. We couldn’t write down the person’s name who was easily rejected and by the time the supervisor was available to ask she would spit out the rehearsed line of garbage, ” all staff are well equip to handle their job.” She never looked into my concerns. To me that was like going to the store and asking the employee if they have an item, that is usually on the self in the back, and they say to you, everything we have is on the self.

    So thank you Mark Engleman for putting this out there so all of us have the opportunity to share our experience with others.

  10. Margaret

    My experience as an observer was of a recount back in days of hanging chads on computer cards used to count votes. A hanging chad was possible if the device used to mark the ballot wasn’t pressed firmly enough, and a tiny chad of paper remained hanging to the voter card. Election observers were instructed to stand behind a line and watch the recount from a distance that made it nearly impossible to see anything. Nevertheless, I did notice one apparent error, and at that time observers were allowed to bring it to the attention of staff. It was an error, and was noted so on the recount. Auditor Kimsey came over and chastised me for leaning a bit to see the problem, and informed me that I had crossed the line, although I hadn’t, my feet were firmly on the observer side of the line far away from the table people were examining the votes at. The auditor explained for the first time something that was not included in the instructions that I was supposed to consider that taped line a barrier extending to the ceiling, so in the bit of leaning done inadvertently in order to see what was going on I was at fault according to him. Over the years, keeping observers far enough away to avoid actually seeing what is being done has gotten worse according to the reports of current observers. It seems like a charade to give the appearance of oversight, when the reality is that the distances required for observers to stand from the election activities prevents meaningful observation of the process.. Not allowing recording devices or even writing down observations further impedes identifying concerns. Irregularities never identified seems to be the goal, since identification of concerns is the first step to correcting or improving a process.


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