Signs at the polls in Rexburg warning students in the college town, home of BYU-Idaho, against voting there “simply because you failed to register and vote at your true domicile” were taken down Tuesday afternoon, after the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho charged that they violated the federal Voting Rights Act. Chief Deputy Idaho Secretary of State Tim Hurst said, “They never turned anybody away. I talked to the county clerk over there today.” Nevertheless, the signs, which were headed in big letters at the top, “STUDENTS,” were taken down mid-afternoon. Hurst said the signs originated with the Secretary of State’s office a decade or more ago, but he wasn’t aware of any other counties that were still posting them. “They were displayed just about everywhere a number of years ago,” he said. Hurst maintained the signs accurately reflect Idaho law about establishing residency. However, he said, “If you’ve been a resident for 30 days, you’re entitled to vote.”
Articles about voting issues in Idaho.
The websites for the Idaho Legislature and Idaho’s iCourt portal were hacked Friday morning by a hacktivist group called AnonPlus Italia. From about 11 to 11:10 a.m., both websites were replaced with a black screen, and a manifesto written in Italian about government and media slavery. (The entirety of the text is posted at the end of this article.) AnonPlus is a sporadically active branch of Anonymous, a loosely connected group of hackers, which claim responsibility for online hacks that take place around the globe. AnonPlus was originally associated with a social network for Anonymous, but that network was later hacked by another group and ultimately abandoned. The name “AnonPlus” has been used occasionally in association with others hacks since then. It appears the most recent iteration of the group began activity this year. Italian media reported this week that AnonPlus had performed a seemingly identical hack — with the same message — on the K-9 Web Protection website, which is part of the Symantec antivirus company. K-9 Web Protection filters internet content.
As midterm primary elections inch closer and closer, cybersecurity of election systems is top of mind across the nation. Seventeen states requested on-site risk assessments from the Department of Homeland Security to ensure elections are secure against cyber-tampering. Idaho was not one of those states but election officials say the Gem State is involved in informal conversations with both DHS and the FBI regarding election cybersecurity. That includes constant vulnerability scans. … Just last week, election officials implemented several DHS processes and recommendations to keep state elections secure. But among Idaho’s high-tech security measures, the state’s best defense against a potential threat is much simpler.
Idaho lawmakers on Monday proposed a measure with strong Republican support that would dramatically change the state’s independent commission in charge of re-drawing congressional and legislative maps every decade. Redistricting is important because it can decide which party gets the majority of congressional and state legislative seats. It is a contentious issue nationwide. The Senate State Affairs Committee introduced a proposal that would amend Idaho’s Constitution to change the state’s redistricting commission from six to nine members, with the state’s legislative council deciding the ninth commissioner. The proposal will go to Idaho voters in November if it passes by a two-thirds majority in the GOP-dominant Senate and House.
Idaho: Secretary of state seeks budget boost to upgrade software, transparency | The Spokesman-Review
Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney is asking for a budget increase next year of more than 70 percent, with most of the increase coming in a major upgrade to the state’s election software system to allow more transparent reporting of campaign finances, lobbyist records and election management and results. “This will allow us to migrate the full functionality of the state’s election software management applications into a single, comprehensive and purpose-built software suite that will carry us into the future,” Denney told the Legislature’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee. “These areas represent within the election system the highest customer interest from a voter-information standpoint. It’s through these areas that voters can look up who is running and what they’re running for, who is contributing to the campaigns, and who is lobbying, along with our election management and an upgrade to our election-night reporting.” The move was endorsed unanimously earlier by a legislative interim committee that’s recommending more and more frequent campaign finance reporting.
A recount for a local election in southern Idaho has overturned a win that was decided by a coin toss last month. Dick Galbraith and Glen Loveland ran against each other for a seat on the city council in the small southern city of Heyburn. Officials said the race ended in a 112-112 vote tie, The Times-News reported To select the winner, a coin toss was held in mid-November. Galbraith lost and then requested a recount as allowed under state election laws. “I had a nagging feeling that it wasn’t right,” Galbraith said. “And honestly, I just had too much heartburn over losing to a coin toss.”
Idahoans can now register to vote online for the first time. Secretary of State Lawerence Denney announced Tuesday that the move will offer convenience to voters and cut down administrative work for county election officials. “Today, Idahoans can not only find out things like where to vote, whether they are registered to vote, or whether the county has received their absentee ballot, but also register to vote online,” Denney said. Online registration requires voters, who would have to have a state-issued ID, to fill out an electronic application that is then sent to state elections officials for validation. The Idaho Transportation Department will provide digital copies of voter signatures from state-issued driver’s licenses to become part of the voter registration database.
The contest pits incumbent Mayor Rebecca Casper against Councilwoman Barbara Ehardt. Thirty miles to the south, Blackfoot also will hold a runoff election between incumbent Mayor Paul Loomis and challenger Marc Carroll. Runoff elections are triggered when a single candidate doesn’t garner more than a 50 percent of the vote. Though Idaho Falls’ 2005 runoff ordinance is relatively new, Gem State cities are generally trending away from the contests because of their impact on local budgets and how infrequently they change general results. Still, a handful of Idaho cities use runoffs to magnify and hone candidate viewpoints, as well as allow their community to elect with consensus.
Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney announced Tuesday he’s reevaluating the state’s involvement in a longtime multistate voter registration database. Denney says that his office has received hundreds of emails from citizens raising concerns about Idaho’s involvement in the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program. “I don’t think anything has been compromised up to this point,” Denney said. “But we have questions about the security and we need to get answers to that before we make the decision to participate again or not.”
Ada County elections employees have been leery of the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program since 2014 — the year they got burned by it. It was Idaho’s first year as a member. Ada County received a list of possible duplicate voter registrations and began to revoke several thousand of them, including then-West Ada School District Superintendent Linda Clark, radio personality Ken Bass and former U.S. Attorney and prominent Democrat Betty Richardson. Those voters began to call. What appeared to be duplicate records, weren’t at all. When the county realized it was in error, it quickly halted the revocations. Because of the Crosscheck program’s decentralized approach and a lack of feedback, it’s hard to tell its value to Idaho. But a look at what is known suggests it causes more problems than it catches — and it’s not clear that it’s helped catch any Idaho voter fraud that led to a conviction. … This year, 28 states — including Idaho — sent 98.5 million voter registration records to Kobach and Crosscheck. Those included such personal data as birth dates and partial Social Security numbers.