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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

Judge: Ley ineligible to run for 18th Legislative District; his name will be on ballot

Court orders his votes to be left out of Aug. 2 primary results

By Shari Phiel, Columbian staff writer
Published: July 15, 2022, 5:34pm

A Clark County Superior Court judge ruled Friday that John Ley is ineligible to run for the 18th Legislative District and ordered that votes for the candidate not be used in the Aug. 2 primary election.

Judge David Gregerson handed down the order late Friday afternoon.

Vancouver residents Carolyn Crain and Penny Rosshad filed suit against the county to throw Ley off the ballot after Auditor Greg Kimsey confirmed that Ley, a longtime Camas resident, did not reside within the 18th District when he filed to run for office.

Kimsey confirmed Friday ballots cast for Ley will be counted, however they will not be used to determine which two candidates move on to the general election.

During a hearing Monday, Gregerson rejected Crain’s request for a temporary restraining order that would have required Clark County Elections to print and mail new ballots without Ley’s name.

The judge said while he was concerned about including an invalid candidate on the ballot, the order would have created too long of a delay to the elections process.

As part of his order, Gregerson directed the Clark County Elections Office to mail a notice to each unique mailing address of all active registered voters in the 18th Legislative District informing them of his order and its effect.

Any votes cast for Ley will be disregarded by the Clark County Canvassing Board, according to Gregerson’s order. That means the top two vote-getters among Republicans Brad Benton and Greg Cheney and Democrat Duncan Camacho on Aug. 2 will advance to the general election.

Crain challenged Ley’s voter registration in May, claiming Ley continued to live at his home in Camas and not at the Battle Ground address he had listed on his voter registration.

Kimsey held a hearing on the matter on June 28, and later ruled the challenge was upheld.

During the hearing, Ley claimed he was renting a room from a friend who owned the Battle Ground home for $1 per month. Kimsey said that rate was well below market value and clearly indicated Ley was not residing at the home.

On July 4, just before the hearing, Ley updated his voter registration to an apartment on Hazel Dell Avenue, which was also in the 18th District.

However, Kimsey did not cancel Ley’s voter registration, saying he lacked the authority to remove Ley from the race, saying such action could only be undertaken through the courts.