ELECTIONS 2020

Thurston County holds voter registration challenge hearing over C Davis address

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THURSTON COUNTY –– The Thurston County Auditor’s Office, which oversees voter registration and elections, held a voter registration challenge hearing Thursday afternoon to determine whether the voter registration of Thurston County Board of Commissioners candidate C Davis was valid or not. 

The challenge came from Andrew Saturn, who filed a challenge with the county on Aug. 21. 

According to state law, a registered voter can challenge the registration of another voter if it is believed to be fraudulent. A voter registration challenge hearing is scheduled by county officials upon receipt of a voter registration challenge. Saturn alleges that Davis does not, in fact, live at the address listed on Davis’ voter registration, but instead lives at a house in the 1200 block of Bigelow Avenue Northeast in Olympia, where the challenger said Davis has lived for the last 10 years. The address listed on Davis’s voter registration records is in the 1200 block of 4th Avenue East in Olympia. 

The address provided on voter registration records must be the address at which a “voter resides and maintains his or her abode,” said County Auditor Mary Hall. However, those who lack a traditional residence can be assigned an address which they can use on their voter registration, providing a way for those who are homeless to register to vote, as well. This includes people who live in a shelter, park, motor home, marina, unmarked home or other identifiable location the voter says is their residence, Hall added. 

“A voter who registers under this section must provide a valid mailing address, and must still meet the requirements that he or she live in the area for at least 30 days before the election,” Hall said. 

However, Saturn said, because he has reason to believe Davis is not homeless, the candidate should not have been assigned an address, but he should be registered to vote at the address where he actually lives. 

“While I believe everyone deserves the right to vote regardless of whether they’re houseless or in unstable housing, I also believe individuals who are lying about their name or where they actually live are actually stealing a vote from someone else in that district,” Saturn said during the hearing. 

Concerns about Davis’s actual name were chief among Saturn’s challenge against Davis’s voter registration. A private investigator hired by another concerned citizen spoke out at the hearing  to find out if Davis actually lives in the 1200 block of Bigelow Avenue, and in the two days that the investigator surveilled Davis, found 24 aliases used by Davis over the last several years. 

“Where he lives depends on who is C Davis,” said Arthur Mills Jr., the private investigator. “A comprehensive background check conducted on Aug. 25 reveals 24 aliases and imposters.”

Mills differentiated between aliases and imposters, defining imposters as someone who shares a social security number and has a different identity.

“The one he uses the most often is a name I can’t even pronounce,” Mills said. “It’s spelled C-M-Y-N-A-M-E-I-S-C Davis. Along with that, those 24 imposters and aliases, the great majority of them point to the Bigelow Avenue house and the P.O. box on Harrison Avenue, all interlinked.” 

He added some of the imposter names Davis uses are imposter names for other imposter names. 

“It is extremely convoluted,” Mills said. “If you look at these names and the dates, for me, with 26 years of experience, it’s telling me there’s fraud or something that he’s hiding.”

Among other of Davis’s aliases, Mills added, Shelley Sydney Frank and C. Shelley Frank Davis shared a social security number with the Cmynameisc Davis imposter name. Mills also said he saw Davis’s car parked outside the Bigelow Avenue address at 1 a.m., and the utility bills for that address were changed to be billed to the names of renters at that property while he still lived there and continued to be listed as an owner of that property. 

During the hearing, Davis admitted he has never lived at the address listed on his voter registration but that he is still allowed to have that address listed on his voter registration forms. He said he went to the Thurston County Auditor’s Office in March 2018 to find out why he hadn’t received a ballot from the office for two years, and the 4th Avenue address was created by the Auditor’s Office when they gave him the option of changing his address.

He also said he owns a property he rents out or uses for storage, and sometimes stays there despite not considering it a permanent address or his main place of residence. When asked where his residence is, he didn’t fully answer the question, despite Hall asking him multiple times during the hearing.

“It depends on the time,” he said. “I do own a rental unit, it’s a duplex, and I use part of it for storage. Sometimes I stay there, sometimes I don’t. I live in the general area. It depends on who I stay with.”

Hall is expected to issue a formal decision within 14 days of the hearing, although she said during the hearing she would try to issue a decision sooner. 

This article has been corrected to correctly state Davis's address as in the 1200 block of 4th Avenue East, not the 100 block. A reference to county code early in the article was also corrected to state law. 

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