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June 25, 2022

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Registration challenge claims John Ley not eligible to run for 18th District

Ley listed as owner of Camas home, registered to vote with Battle Ground address

By , Columbian staff writer

Campaign season for the 2022 election is barely underway, but the Clark County Auditor’s Office has already received a challenge to one candidate’s bid for office.

Vancouver resident Carolyn Crain claims Republican John Ley isn’t eligible to run for the 18th Legislative District Position 2 seat in the state House of Representatives because he doesn’t live in the district.

According to a voter registration challenge filed by Crain, Ley resides in Camas and not at the Battle Ground address listed on his voter registration.

County property records list Philip and Eileen Haggerty as the owners of the Battle Ground address Ley provided. However, Ley is listed as the owner of a Fremont Street home in Camas.

In her challenge, Crain confirmed she had sent a letter with “return service requested” to all of Ley’s known addresses, had searched local phone directories and county property records, searched the statewide voter registration database and visited the voter’s residential address.

County Auditor Greg Kimsey said he will hold a hearing with Ley and Crain on June 10 where Ley can “provide evidence that he does reside at the address in his voter registration record.”

“After that hearing, I will decide if her allegation is correct or if it is not correct,” Kimsey said. “My decision may be appealed to a Superior Court Judge.”

Kimsey said this is only the third voter registration challenge to have a hearing in the nearly 24 years he’s been the county auditor.

Republicans Greg Cheney and Brad Benton are also running for the 18th District seat, along with Democrat Duncan Camacho.

The city of Camas had previously been within the 18th District boundary but that changed after the state legislature completed its redistricting process earlier this year. Camas now lies within the 17th Legislative District.

Although two lawsuits by groups out of Central Washington are still pending, U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik signed an order in April allowing the new state maps to be used for the 2022 election cycle.

Crain previously filed a complaint against Ley with the Public Disclosure Commission in 2020 claiming he failed to submit contribution and expenditure reports on time and also failed to properly break down and describe expenditure details.

The PDC said it investigated the allegations and agreed with Crain.

“Based on these findings, the staff issued a formal written warning to Mr. Ley regarding the failure to timely and accurately report … and failure to properly break down and describe expenditure details,” as required by state law, the PDC website states.

Neither Ley nor Crain returned calls for comment.

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