Letter to the editor: Election observer fights back after getting canceled 

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The Clark County elections department decertified a Republican election observer after discovering a changed tag used to seal a back door to the ballot storage room. The ballots were stored for the Hockinson School Board position and a Vancouver City Council position recounts. As a result, election observer Ed O’Meara experienced retaliation against him. First, they decertified him so he could no longer serve as an election observer. Then the elections department revised Clark County Administrative Code No. 426-260-020, so future election observers can no longer bring any device (no pencil, paper, phone, camera) to document what they observe during elections.

“After a career as a CPA and years serving in the military, I know to trust my gut, and that day it was telling me that something was not right. I stuck close to the ballots, documenting the sealed tag numbers at each step. I discovered that one tag on a back door was replaced without any observer present or mention of the change. When I reported it, the supervisor yelled at me, threw her hands up, and stormed off. I couldn’t even finish my sentence. I filed a complaint, but instead of responding to the complaint, I received a letter informing me of my decertification as an election observer due to my ‘aggressive behavior.’ The irony is that the supervisor was aggressive, and everyone in the room saw that. I believe I caught her in some wrongdoing. Unfortunately, those two recounts went to very liberal candidates.” 

“Other observers are shocked at what happened to O’Meara,” said Joel Mattila, chairman of the Clark County Republicans. “He is one of the calmest, steady, and organized people on the election observer team. It is a travesty for the accusations against him that he was aggressive, especially with multiple witnesses claiming the opposite.” 

Mattila claims there are many stories the election integrity team has that demonstrate how the Clark County auditor and his elections department have worked to disable the citizen’s right to a free and fair election. Requests for audits, major voter roll clean-up, more transparency, and monitoring and observation abilities to restore voter confidence are passed off or outright denied. He said that “The elections department retaliated against our elections integrity team when they sent out a press release earlier this month discrediting our non-partisan efforts with the Washington Voter Research Project canvassing efforts. They completely lied about what we were doing, even though we share every result we find.” 

O’Meara has appealed the action against him by the Clark County Canvassing Board, including the elections auditor, district attorney and county council chair. His recertification was scheduled for consideration on May 3.

Stephanie Millman, 

Camas



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  • gregkimsey

    There are several false statements in this letter.

    Mr. O’Meara’s certification as an election observer was revoked because, after repeated warnings, he continued to disrupt ballot processing by giving verbal directions to members of the counting board and physically touching their paperwork. In addition, he interacted with an Elections Office supervisor in an aggressive, inappropriate manner.

    State law says election observers may not disrupt ballot processing or record images of voted ballots. All observers sign an agreement that they will not speak to Ballot Counting Board members. Observers are always welcome to ask questions of, or request information from, Elections Office supervisors.

    Mr. O’Meara did not deny that he disrupted ballot processing. Instead, he complained that he was not given advance notice that Elections Office staff members intended to enter a sealed room where voted ballots were stored. There is no requirement to inform observers in advance of this. All required chain of custody procedures were followed.

    Information provided by the Washington Voter Research Project to the Elections Office has been carefully reviewed to ensure the accuracy of our voter registration database.

    The do***ents the Canvassing Board were provided as part of Mr. O’Meara’s appeal and the news release regarding the Washington Voter Research Project are available online at www.ClarkVotes.org in the “Recent Notifications” section.

    These do***ents can also be found by using the following:

    https://clark.wa.gov/sites/default/files/media/do***ent/2022-05/Canvassing%20Board%20package%20O%27Meara%20appeal.pdf

    https://clark.wa.gov/elections/door-door-canvassing-not-associated-county-elections-office

    Election observers are a very important part of elections. We are very grateful for the service these volunteers provide. Observer training is available online beginning June 1.

    Anyone with questions or concerns regarding elections in Clark County is encouraged to contact me.

    Greg Kimsey

    Clark County Auditor

    (564) 397-2078

    Greg.Kimsey@Clark.Wa.Gov

    Tuesday, May 17 Report this