Tuesday, February 7, 2023
Feb. 7, 2023

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Clark County November election results certified

Auditor’s office saw 5,626 ballots challenged over signatures

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:
4 Photos
Clark County Elections Director Cathie Garber hands challenged ballots to Canvassing Board member Amanda Migchelbrink for one last review before the 2022 general election results are certified Tuesday.
Clark County Elections Director Cathie Garber hands challenged ballots to Canvassing Board member Amanda Migchelbrink for one last review before the 2022 general election results are certified Tuesday. (Taylor Balkom/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Clark County’s 2022 election results are on the books as the county’s canvassing board met for the final time Tuesday to certify the November general election results.

Compared with Arizona and Pennsylvania, where highly vocal critics have accused elections officials of everything from misconduct to fraud and treason, Clark County’s certification was notably tame.

County Auditor Greg Kimsey said his office wasn’t expecting the same uproar seen in other parts of the country but was prepared for it just in case.

“As I said through the entire election, we have prepared ourselves to respond to any event,” Kimsey said. “We weren’t predicting anything, but we were prepared.”

Among those gathered to watch Tuesday’s proceedings was newly elected District 5 County Councilor Sue Marshall.

“I came because there have been various questions raised. … I knew it wouldn’t change the outcome, but I wanted to participate in the process,” Marshall said. “I wanted to participate in the full experience.”

The three-member board, made up of County Councilor Gary Medvigy, Amanda Migchelbrink from the prosecuting attorney’s office and Rich Cooper, assistant supervisor in the elections office, met Tuesday to review several remaining challenged ballots before results were certified.

Medvigy said this year’s election saw far more ballots challenged than years prior.

“There was an excessive number of unmatched signatures compared to prior canvassing boards that I’ve seen,” Medvigy said.

Medvigy said the board spent about six hours reviewing the challenged ballots during earlier meetings. He said another surprise was how many ballots with unmatched signatures remained unmatched even after voters verified their signatures.

Kimsey said he didn’t have a good explanation for the increase because nothing has changed, not the ballots nor the voting process. According to Kimsey, there were 5,626 ballots challenged for missing or mismatched signatures this election compared with 3,594 in the 2020 general election.

Thanks to elections staff, as well as former 3rd Congressional District candidate Joe Kent encouraging voters to cure their challenged ballots, just over 3,000 challenged ballots were corrected and counted in the 2022 results.

“The one thing we’ve been trying to communicate is if you registered online, if you registered when you got your driver’s license or updated your driver’s license, then the signature on your driver’s license or Washington state identification card is the signature in your voter registration record,” Kimsey said.

Although it’s too late for the 2022 election, Kimsey said the best way to ensure a ballot has been received and counted is to check the status at VoteWa.gov.

After each county in Washington certified their election results Tuesday, the next step is for the Washington secretary of state’s office to certify the statewide results. By law, the office must certify elections results no more than 30 days from the date of the election, which would be Dec. 8.

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