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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

Clark County election security petition falls about 20,000 signatures short

Volunteers working with Reform Clark County collected nearly 8,000 signatures

By Dylan Jefferies, Columbian staff writer
Published: May 29, 2024, 2:58pm

A proposed initiative that sought to reform Clark County’s elections process failed to gather enough signatures to secure a spot on the November ballot.

“This was a very solid effort, but the restriction of only 120 days to gather signatures turned out to be more than our citizen-led effort could accomplish,” Rob Anderson, the initiative’s author, said on his website.

Anderson filed the proposed Restore Election Confidence initiative in January. Signature gatherers had until May 25 to collect 27,702 signatures. Volunteers collected nearly 8,000 signatures total, according to Anderson’s website.

Anderson said the initiative was a nonpartisan attempt to improve election integrity and increase voter turnout.

However, Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey argued that the initiative incorrectly implied that the elections office does not comply with all applicable federal and state laws. He added that the initiative appeared to be a result of the belief that election results do not accurately reflect voters’ decisions — a belief that took hold at the national, state and local level after the 2020 election, he said.

“The ability of citizens to enact laws via the initiative process is an important part of our county charter,” Kimsey said Wednesday. “The failure of this proposed initiative appears to demonstrate that voters are highly confident in the integrity of Clark County election administrative processes.”

Anderson argued that “a highly partisan effort to silence and disregard valid concerns” chilled the signature gathering process.

However, Anderson’s claim that the initiative was a “nonpartisan effort” is dubious.

He is an elected Republican precinct committee officer who led the 2021 mini-initiative effort to create a county ordinance banning mask and vaccine mandates that “discriminate against citizens regarding their health status.”

The Restore Election Confidence Initiative Committee collected $15,710 in contributions, including $2,000 from the Clark County Republican Party and $200 from former state senator and Donald Trump’s Washington state campaign manager Don Benton, according to Public Disclosure Commission filings.

Additionally, Anderson’s website — ReformClarkCounty.com — provides a link to a website for Patriots United, which aims to “change the trajectory of our state from radical liberal ideology back to conservative values.”

Patriots United avidly supported the initiative on social media, and its website espouses the idea that the 2020 election was stolen.

“It is all but confirmed that our elections in Washington State are stolen and have been stolen (or at least heavily manipulated) for decades,” the website states. “Washington was the practice grounds for what has now been rolled out throughout much of the Country to create the illusion of ‘free and fair’ elections while installing specific candidates in many of the races.”

Anderson said that many factors, including opposition from both political sides and 50 days of rain, contributed to signature gathering coming up short. He also accused the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s office, The Columbian and Greg Kimsey of “pushing out false information” about the initiative to “suppress signature gathering.”

“It took decades of inaction to get us where we are today, and it will take more than a few months effort to get us out,” Anderson said. “We must civilly and respectfully engage and sacrificially work to take our county back and bring about the reforms that will tilt us into a healthy Constitutional Republic once again.”