Thurston County’s canvassing board will decide in coming days whether Lisa Parshley, who is running for Olympia City Council, is legally registered to vote in Olympia.
Parshley appeared before the board — made up of Auditor Mary Hall, Prosecutor Jon Tunheim, and County Commission Chair Bud Blake — at a Monday morning hearing. Michael Snodgrass, who filed a voter registry challenge on Sept. 27, also was present to explain his allegations that Parshley doesn’t actually live at the address where she is registered to vote.
Parshley is registered to vote at an address on the 1000 block of Fourth Avenue East. Snodgrass alleges that Parshley and her husband actually live in the Boston Harbor area, about five miles outside of city limits.
The Canvassing Board’s decision won’t directly affect Parshley’s ability to run for Olympia City Council. Any challenge to whether she can hold that office would need to be made in Thurston County Superior Court.
Hall said Monday that for the purpose of voter registration, a residence is defined as a person’s permanent address, the place where the voter permanently resides. Parshley said that she spends most nights at the Fourth Avenue address to be closer to her veterinary practice. She said that she began doing this in 2014.
The bottom floor of the building serves as Parshley’s campaign office for Olympia City Council, and is available to some other local candidates, too. She said there are three rooms upstairs and a bathroom. The building has no kitchen.
Snodgrass said Monday that he spoke with one of the Fourth Avenue property’s owners, Jennifer Reitzke. He said Parshley’s husband, Thomas Allen, had leased the property from Reitzke, then subleased it to a pet dermatology clinic from the summer of 2014 to the summer of 2016.
“The landlords were unaware that Miss Parshley had any link to the property until the spring of 2017 when it became her campaign office,” Snodgrass said.
The Olympian tried to contact Reitzke to confirm the information about the lease, but Reitzke did not return calls for comment.
According to Thurston County Assessor’s Office records, the building is zoned for commercial use. Parshley said she believed it was a mixed-use building.
Snodgrass alleged that Parshley’s vehicle is registered at the Boston Harbor address, and that her husband is still registered to vote at the Boston Harbor home. State records confirm that Allen was registered to vote at the Boston Harbor address as of Sept. 28.
Parshley was previously registered to vote at the Boston Harbor address, and caucused there in the spring of 2016.
Parshley said that she and her husband own 80 percent of the Boston Harbor house, and the remaining 20 percent is in a family trust. Her parents bought the home in the 1960s, but moved out a few years ago because of medical issues. She said that she hopes to retire there.
Both Snodgrass and Tunheim asked why, if she had been living on Fourth Avenue since 2014, she didn’t change her voter registration to that address sooner. State records show that Parshley was registered to vote at the Boston Harbor address during the 2016 primary, and she changed her address sometime after that.
“I forgot. I wish I could say that there was some grand thing, but honestly I forgot in the midst of everything with the business,” Parshley said.
Tunheim asked if she was aware of where she was registered to vote when she caucused in the Boston Harbor area. She said that she was aware.
The Canvassing Board has 30 days to make a decision regarding Parshley’s voter registration.