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Press Talk: A tiny election mystery

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Published: November 2, 2019, 6:02am

Existence would just be like a pile of plain, sliced white Wonder bread if it wasn’t for life’s little mysteries. And I found one of these little beauties involving our local election.

But before I get to it, let’s look at a few other mysteries. You know, stuff like why is the sky blue, how does Feb. 29 pop up every so often and is there anyone powerful enough to move Colorado to the border of Mexico? Let’s explore:

• Light during the day is made up of a bunch of colors. Because the color blue travels as shorter, smaller waves it gets scattered more than other colors and creates a blue sky. You see this play out every day when you wake up, except during a Vancouver winter. Then the blue disappears. Technically it’s still there, but it mysteriously moves in our heads, creating a gray sky and a malaise. But don’t fret, the blue feeling escapes our brains and returns to the sky sometime in July.

• Feb. 29 exists because the Earth is too dang slow — much like former Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard when he’s jogging — so every once in a while it needs a good kick in the butt to keep up with the calendar. So we add a day every four years. (I’m kinda kidding, Mr. Mayor!)

• Colorado was moved to the Mexican border a few weeks ago by President Donald Trump. Trump is powerful. Very, very powerful. Extremely powerful. And amazing. Very, very amazing. Extremely amazing. So a few days ago he was endlessly blabbing to an audience when he said he was building that wall of his on the Colorado border to keep out those dangerous illegal aliens. I’m not kidding! He said this. So I’m guessing rather than ever admitting that he said something stupid he’ll simply move Colorado in a couple of weeks. I told you he is very powerful. Very, very powerful. Extremely powerful.

But hey, back to this little election mystery. If you would, grab your voter registration card and look at the back. What does it say? OK, you can’t find the card. But here’s what it says:

“This card is not proof of citizenship.”

Huh?

Seems crazy. Counter-intuitive if you will. After all, one of the foundations of our democracy are elections. And — of course — you must be a U.S. citizen to vote. So if you have an election registration card — issued by the government — it signifies you can vote … but it does not signify you are a U.S. citizen.

Let me be clear, I’m not one of those goofy conspiracy nut jobs who claim that President Trump won the popular vote (even though he lost by 3 million votes). Yes, it actually was the country’s head fraudster who pushed this conspiracy, but like so many other words that have dribbled out of his mouth, it was a lie.

Still, I found it odd, a little perplexing even, that an official voting registration card issued by the government allowing someone to vote has nothing backing it up. So I dug in a little. I got in touch with Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey, who oversees elections and issues the cards. This Republican has been in this role for more than 20 years. I’ve got a ton of respect for him. He’s cool, calm and cunning. Well, I don’t know about cunning, but who doesn’t like a little three-word alliteration?

Kimsey told me essentially that voter registration is on the honor system.

“In order to complete (the voter registration) form the person must attest that they are a U.S. citizen. The person must also provide their driver’s license number or the last four numbers of their Social Security number.”

The catch there, of course, is our state issues driver’s licenses to people who aren’t U.S. citizens. So an illegal alien could — could — legally get a driver’s license, show that driver’s license to the elections office, and obtain a voter registration card.

So there’s no real checking going on. “Election administrators do not have any investigative authority,” Kimsey said. Again, it’s on the honor system.

So the only way any possible fraud could be caught is for someone to question a person’s legal voting status.

“If a person believes a registered voter does not meet the requirements to be a registered voter they may file a voter registration challenge,” Kimsey added.

I asked Kimsey how many times that has happened in his long career in Clark County. He said it’s only been a handful of times.

There was one last question I had for him. That line on the back of the registration card. Where did it come from? Who put it there?

Kimsey said he has no idea. He said the line is not required by the state, so he knows that Clark County added it. No one — including a state elections official I spoke with — knows if any other Washington counties use it.

So there’s another mystery for you. If I find the answer — or exactly how Trump plans to move Colorado to the Mexican border — I’ll get back to you.

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