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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

Election fraud charges don’t stop Camas Republican John Ley’s 18th District House campaign

He filed his candidacy for 18th District seat in May

By Dylan Jefferies, Columbian staff writer
Published: June 7, 2024, 6:07am

At this point, nothing prevents a candidate who faces felony election fraud charges from seeking a seat in the same district where his residency was challenged in 2022.

John Ley, a Camas Republican, is accused of providing false information on his voter registration, as well as on his declaration of candidacy for an 18th Legislative District seat in the state House of Representatives.

Ley pleaded not guilty in Clark County Superior Court in November. His trial was set for April 29 but has been delayed until October.

No voter-registration challenges have been lodged against Ley since he filed his candidacy for an 18th District seat again in May, Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey said.

“Any registered voter can file a registration challenge,” Kimsey said. “There is no window for when a registration challenge can be filed.”

In 2022, fellow Republican Carolyn Crain claimed Ley resides in Camas and not at the Battle Ground address that was listed on his voter registration.

A month before filing to run in 2022, Ley changed the address on his voter registration from his Fremont Street home in Camas, which is in the 17th District, to a Battle Ground address in the 18th District. (County property records show Ley has owned his home in Camas for more than 20 years. The city of Camas had previously been within the 18th District boundary but is now within the 17th District following the state Legislature’s 2022 redistricting process.)

Kimsey determined that Ley’s voter registration was invalid. However, Ley was not removed from the ballot, and Crain took the issue to court.

Superior Court Judge David Gregerson ruled that Ley was an ineligible candidate. He said there wasn’t enough time to remove Ley from the ballot but said any votes cast for Ley would not be included when determining the two primary election winners.

Ley was one of three Republicans to run for the 18th District position in 2022. Greg Cheney, R-Battle Ground, won the seat.

Crain told The Columbian in December that she filed the challenge and went to court because she didn’t want Democrats challenging Ley’s status after the primary, potentially leaving Republicans without a candidate.

Now, Cheney is vying for the 18th Legislative District Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Ann Rivers, R-Vancouver, and Ley is running to succeed him. Also running are John Zingale, a Vancouver Democrat, and Philip Johnson, a Battle Ground Republican.

Ley is being represented by Vancouver attorney Angus Lee, who argues that the charges against his client are politically motivated. Lee has filed an ethics complaint alleging that Kimsey violated the county’s code of ethics and policies. Lee also claims Kimsey influenced the drawing of a precinct boundary to allow Cheney to run for an 18th District seat. Kimsey disputes the allegations.

Neither Ley nor Crain returned emails for comment.

To learn more about Ley’s campaign, visit electjohnley.com.


Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that John Zingale, a Vancouver Democrat, and Philip Johnson, a Battle Ground Republican, are also running for the 18th Legislative District, House Position 2.

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