Clark County Auditor Can Count the Votes
Clark County auditor candidate Brett Simpson was denied a preliminary injunction, which would have barred the county from counting or reporting any votes cast in his race against auditor Greg Kimsey. Superior Court Judge Derek Vanderwood denied Simpson’s request in Friday’s hearing.
Simpson filed suit on July 21 against Kimsey, election supervisor Kathy Garber, and Clark County, claiming that the election office sent false primary ballots to more than 300,000 voters in Clark County when it had only one or two candidates. Non-partisan races were included.
Simpson requested a preliminary injunction requiring the Elections Office to “tabulate, record, count, maintain records or publish, distribute, communicate, or otherwise disclose the results” to the auditor’s race in the August 2 primary. .
According to court records, Simpson claimed that his race and others should not have been listed on the primary ballot because state law “prohibits primary elections for nonpartisan offices where there are two or fewer candidates.”
In an earlier interview, Kimsey stated that the ballot consisted of a total of five races with two or fewer candidates; All had county offices, such as treasurer, clerk, auditor, etc. He said he was inducted for a good reason.
“In November 2021, Clark County voters approved an amendment to the county charter that made the offices of council member, assessor, auditor, clerk, sheriff, treasurer and prosecuting attorney non-partisan and required that ‘elections to offices shall be conducted in the manner provided for partisan local elections under state law.’ Under state law, candidates for partisan local offices appear on the primary ballot, whether there is one candidate or more than one candidate,” Kimsey said.
Simpson disagreed. In his lawsuit, he stated, “Kimsey’s reliance on conflicting language in Clark County Home Charter section 6.2 is unwarranted because the charter, in this respect, whether by mistake or oversight, still conflicts directly with (state law). Is.”
But Vanderwood agreed with Kimsey’s interpretation and said the election office was following the procedure outlined in the county’s charter.
After the hearing, Kimsey said, “He ruled that Home Rule is the direct language of the Charter and is not contrary to state law.”
In his lawsuit, Simpson said that the amendments made to voters by the Charter Review Commission left the county charter with “irreparable puzzlement because of the non-partisan race as the amended charter was directly at odds with[state law].” Conflict is indicated.”
Simpson also said it’s a puzzle that Kimsey, who has been the county auditor for more than 20 years, “should have easily identified and corrected.”
“I think it was a surprise to us that (Judge Vanderwood) is effectively saying that the Home Rule Charter can override state law for our local county elections,” Simpson said. “I think that’s a positive thing. I love that local governments have more control over their processes.”
While he could appeal the Superior Court’s decision, Simpson said he had yet to decide on his next steps in the trial.
“I think it is important to clarify. If it is as it was governed today then this is a huge change in dynamics given the means and methods of elections, it has always been a state-level thing,” he said. .
Kimsey said Vanderwood also ruled that Simpson was not harmed by the actions taken by the auditor’s office when preparing and mailing primary ballots.
“The important thing is, there is no harm done to the plaintiffs,” Kimsey said.