This Tuesday’s primary may not have had many election surprises, but it did produce a first for four-term Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey: A certified election observer, whose job is to watch over those tallying votes, showed up wearing a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol. Every day before leaving his house, Gerald “Rick” Halle says, he attaches his firearm to his hip. Monday, as the 48-year-old Vancouver man and certified election observer cruised over to the auditor’s office, it was no different. “I can’t predict when I walk out the door what’s going to happen,” Halle said, likening it to putting on his seat belt before starting the car. The county currently prohibits employees from carrying a firearm at work, but elected officials and the public are allowed to bring weapons into some county buildings.
Halle did nothing illegal and, in fact, nobody said a word to him. He fulfilled his role overseeing the votes being tallied and left.
But later, some election workers voiced discomfort. The county’s code doesn’t address whether election observers or temporary election workers should be barred or allowed to carry firearms.
“We’re going to discuss this with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and see what our options might be,” Kimsey said. “And until we have those discussions, I’m not going to speak to them.”