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.
Articles about voting issues in Idaho.
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.
Elections employees are raising concerns about an interstate program meant to detect voter fraud in Idaho that they said has led to errors. Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck program was launched in the state in 2014, the Idaho Statesman reported Sunday. The program compares voter registration records — which contain personal information such as birth dates and partial Social Security numbers — from its state members to find people who vote in more than one state. In its first year the program identified several thousands of possible duplicate voter registrations which Ada County elections employees later found were errors after voters called to complain about the pending revocations.
Much ado was made earlier this year when the Trump administration asked all 50 states for their voter-registration rolls. Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney told Kris Kobach, vice chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, that the commission could have only the voter registration information available under Idaho law — name, address, party affiliation and election-participation history. Denney assured the public that other personal information collected on Idaho’s voter registration forms — a voter’s date of birth, driver’s-license number and the last four digits of the Social Security number — is not releasable under Idaho’s public records law. Kobach, he said, could not have it. In fact, Denney had already given it to Kobach. In February, Denney gave Kobach information on all registered Idaho voters, including two pieces of voters’ non-public personal information — their birth dates and abbreviated Social Security numbers. And that was not the first time. Kobach received the same information about Idaho voters in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Why did this happen?
Responding to a question about when there might be online voting in Idaho, Phil McGrane, chief deputy to the Ada County clerk, didn’t waste words: “Not in my lifetime.” In 2010, Washington, D.C., experimented with an electronic voting system, inviting hackers to interfere with a mock school board election. Within hours, a University of Michigan professor and two graduate students had broken into the system, elected Futurama character Bender to the D.C. school board, replaced the “Thank you for voting” message with “Owned,” and programmed it to play the University of Michigan fight song, “Hail to the Victors.” The changes went unnoticed for 48 hours. “Unless you want Bender as president—and some of you might want that right now—we won’t be voting online,” McGrane told a contingent from the League of Women Voters Sept. 13 at the Ada County Courthouse.