Commentary: Greg Kimsey’s misleading tactics: A call for integrity in Clark County


Greg Kimsey, Clark County Auditor, is smooth, I’ll give him that much. Yet, when it comes to the truth, he plays pretty fast and loose. He knows he’s considered the “expert,” so he often delivers statements that mix partial truths with misdirection and false information, confident that people will believe him at his word.

Over the past few months during the Restore Election Confidence (REC) Initiative, Kimsey worked vigorously to stop the REC effort and made some very smooth-sounding statements that, upon closer examination, are troubling.
Let’s review the facts:

Questionable legality claims

When the REC first began, Kimsey was quoted in a newspaper questioning its legality. However, when he presented his case to the prosecuting attorney (PA) in a memo on Jan. 26, the PA’s office outright rejected his claims, stating that the REC is within the scope of local initiative powers. Despite multiple legal theories from Kimsey, and all he needed was one to be correct, all of his complaints to the PA’s office fell short. Even worse is that Kimsey threatened the PA’s office that if they’d didn’t take action to stop the REC, even though he lacked the authority to do so, he would take action. It doesn’t appear that Kimsey followed through on his threat but maybe he just decided that his efforts to misinform the public would be enough.

Signature verification concerns

Kimsey argued in a newspaper that extending signature verification beyond 5 p.m. on election day could lead to more errors, emphasizing quality over quantity. This suggests our election procedures are so fragile that a few extra hours a few days a year could cause significant issues with results. If this is true, it indicates serious problems with our current system that only working a few extra hours can break its integrity.

Inconsistent arguments

Tracking all of Kimsey’s arguments is dizzying. For example, he claimed cameras on ballot boxes or processing areas are unnecessary because of certified election observers (email to Councilors, July 2023). Yet, he later argued that cameras are just too expensive (local newspaper, May 2024). This comes from someone who is currently spending $4.7 million, which will most likely go over budget, on a remodel that includes external recording cameras to keep an eye on the public but resists turning the cameras in on themselves.

Chain of custody issues

Kimsey stated that the claim that “no chain of custody exists” is false because protocols exist for all ballots, but there are no actual chain of custody laws in Washington state, and Kimsey knows this but was hoping we won’t notice the difference between laws and self-imposed procedures. His “protocols” are inadequate. After the 2023 general election, there was a 3,748-ballot discrepancy between election night and the following day. When questioned, the Elections Department said the state allows them to estimate on election night instead of requiring accurate counts. This sleight of hand between “protocols” and actual laws is misleading.

Resistance to audits

Kimsey has resisted additional audits, claiming rigorous testing protocols ensure equipment integrity. However, the current checks are minimal, and significant errors, such as the one out of 742 ballot errors found by recounts in 2022, tell a different story. State auditors have a choice of various “audits” for certification, and Kimsey uses the least rigorous and only checks the tabulator after election results, only one of many components of our modern-day voting systems.

Misleading public confidence claims

When the REC effort fell short of the required signatures, Kimsey proclaimed that this indicated public confidence in our election procedures. However, declining voter participation over the past decade and the support of over 8,000 signatures, more than any other full-initiative attempt, suggest otherwise. Kimsey’s behavior is shameful and unsurprising given his history of pending ethics complaints that accuse him of misleading the public and improper conduct.

It’s pretty amazing to see all the different positions he’s taken. In the end, he decried that the REC incorrectly implied that the elections office does not comply with all applicable federal and state laws, a charge that was never made against him. Kimsey’s really good at make-believing things in order to misdirect people. By the way, if he wasn’t following federal or state laws, that would be so much easier to deal with, but the current laws give a lot of discretion to auditors, and Kimsey doesn’t want the public to understand how much he wields.

Kimsey isn’t finished

Last week, Kimsey presented a charter amendment for initiatives to the Clark County Council. On June 25, the council will conduct a hearing on whether to put the amendment on an upcoming ballot or not. The amendment aims to further restrict the people’s right to propose initiatives by expanding the powers of the PA’s office. It’s worth noting that this is the same office that previously violated the law while attempting to stop the REC initiative. If the new charter amendment passes, citizens may find it almost impossible to bring forward initiatives the legal or administrative elites like Kimsey don’t like.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have an auditor who actually audits and takes the public’s concerns seriously instead of issuing constant dismissive and misleading statements? Unfortunately, the more Kimsey talks, the less confidence the public has in his judgment and leadership in Clark County.


Rob Anderson is a Vancouver resident and sponsor and author of the Restore Election Confidence Initiative.