Tuesday, June 28, 2022
June 28, 2022

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Clark County canvassing board upholds ousting of election observer

Supporters attend board meeting for appeal on behalf of Ed O’Meara

By , Columbian staff writer

While Clark County canvassing board meetings are typically sparsely attended, that wasn’t the case Tuesday.

About 25 to 30 residents, many from the Republican-led Election Integrity Coalition — as well as 3rd Congressional District candidate Joe Kent — attended the board’s meeting to hear the outcome of an appeal filed by former elections observer Ed O’Meara.

According to Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey, O’Meara’s status as an elections observer was revoked following the November general election.

“During the recent recounts, in violation of Elections Office rules, you repeatedly spoke to elections staff while they were sorting ballots and when they were counting votes,” Kimsey wrote in a Dec. 10 letter to O’Meara.

Kimsey said O’Meara repeatedly touched the spreadsheets being used by elections staff to conduct recounts, noting “these actions continued even after being admonished on several occasions by Elections Office management.”

The conflict between O’Meara and elections staff reached its zenith on Dec. 6. According to Kimsey, O’Meara raised his voice to an inappropriate volume, made aggressive physical motions toward elections supervisor Cathie Garber and “showed a lack of control of your emotions.”

“I have worked with Cathie Garber for 10 years, and I’ve never seen her react with anything other than courtesy and professionalism,” Kimsey said.

But following her interaction with O’Meara, Kimsey said Garber was visibly distraught.

At the Tuesday meeting, O’Meara was given an opportunity to appeal Kimsey’s decision. O’Meara said he had not previously been engaged in politics but decided to get involved in 2021 because “I felt like something was wrong.”

“I really feel that I have earned the right to vote and to have my vote counted correctly,” the U.S. Navy veteran told the canvassing board.

O’Meara said during his time as an elections observer, he was able to watch most of the elections process and 100 percent of the recount process. While he said he found no fault with the elections results or counting process, and he was watching “like a hawk,” he said he was upset after being denied access to an area where recounts were being conducted.

Kimsey said O’Meara was never denied access to the sealed room where ballots were stored. He said O’Meara’s concern was that he wasn’t informed in advance that Elections staff members intended to access that room. The room was accessed by two Elections staff members, but Kimsey said they properly resealed the room and filled out a log showing the serial numbers of the seals. Kimsey also said there is no requirement that an observer be present when Elections employees enter and exit a room where ballots are stored.

The canvassing board, which includes Councilor Gary Medvigy, unanimously upheld O’Meara’s ousting as an observer.

“We will never give up. We will never say die. Do with me as you might,” O’Meara said at the conclusion.


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