HB 150, the House-passed bill that sought to limit early voting in Idaho counties so that it could occur only from three weeks before an election to one week before, ran into trouble in the Senate State Affairs Committee this morning. Sen. Marv Hagedorn’s motion to pass the bill died for lack of a second. Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, then moved to send the bill to the Senate’s amending order for changes, to expand it to add another week of possible early voting time for counties; Hagedorn seconded the motion. Sen. Todd Lakey spoke against the motion. “This seems to be more about the convenience for the candidate than for the electorate,” he said. “I don’t like curtailing it. I don’t know if the amending order is the right way to handle this. I prefer to see a more consensus bill come forward if there is one.” Hagedorn’s motion then died on a 4-4 tie, with Sens. Hagedorn, Hill, Winder and Lodge supporting it; and Sens. Lakey, Stennett, Buckner-Webb and Siddoway opposing it.Full Article: Senate panel kills bill to restrict early voting dates | The Spokesman-Review.
Articles about voting issues in Idaho.
Legislation to change Idaho’s procedure for special elections when an Idaho member of Congress leaves office mid-term cleared a Senate panel on Monday, and headed to the full Senate. No such election has ever been held in Idaho history, but Idaho’s process for a special election for Congress drew attention in December when 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador was interviewed by then-president-elect Trump for a possible position as U.S. Secretary of the Interior. The law says the governor would declare an election date by proclamation, and anyone who wanted to would run, regardless of party. That opened the hypothetical possibility of a whole array of candidates from various parties running together for an open House seat from Idaho.Full Article: Idaho bill to clamp down on special House elections advances | | The Spokesman-Review.
Idaho students will continue going to school on election day. Legislation to declare a school holiday on every election day in Idaho was killed in the House Education Committee on Monday after it drew strong opposition from school boards and school districts across the state. The measure was designed to allow schools to serve as polling places without creating any danger to kids from all the strangers coming to campus. Chief Deputy Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane said the bill envisioned moving teacher professional development days to election days, so teachers still could be on campus, but not students.Full Article: Idaho lawmakers reject bill to make every Election Day a school holiday | The Spokesman-Review.
A measure limiting early voting in Idaho is on its way to the House floor after squeaking through a skeptical legislative panel. Freshman Republican Rep. Dustin Manwaring, of Pocatello, says his bill creates a standardized system for early voting that’s lacking in Idaho. “This is a new layer of consistency that we’re adding. We’ll actually increase voter access to the polls and fairness because we’ll have that consistency statewide in our counties when early voting will be open to the public,” Manwaring said. If passed, Idaho’s early voting window could take place any time from three weeks prior to the election to one week before. Currently, county clerks have the choice to begin early voting on or before the third week from the election. This has resulted in a hodgepodge of early voting start dates across the state, with the majority of smaller counties choosing not to open the polls early to save on costs.Full Article: Bill limiting early voting in Idaho headed to House floor | The Herald.
An obscure problem with Idaho election laws that caused a lawsuit and an abnormally heated election in Teton County may soon be solved by the Legislature. Having already been approved by the House, House Bill 13 was taken up Friday by the Senate State Affairs Committee. The committee unanimously recommended that the bill pass. The issue the bill addresses arose in the race between Teton County Sheriff Tony Liford and challenger Lindsey Moss. Liford was an incumbent Democrat. Moss, an investigator for the prosecutor’s office, had previously challenged Liford as a Republican, coming within a few dozen votes of ousting him. In 2016, Moss again challenged Liford, this time switching to the Democratic party in an effort to decide the race in the primary. But Liford wanted to fight it out in the general election, so he switched his affiliation to Republican the same day he filed his declaration of candidacy, which he filed on the last possible day.Full Article: Legislature to fix election problem | Post Register.
Canyon County election officials say they have identified the culprit behind Election Day’s slow vote counting process: hundreds of ballots with tiny flaws. Canyon County was among the state’s slowest for counting ballots after polls closed on Nov. 8. In fact, the county finally posted unofficial results at 6:49 a.m. Nov. 9, beating out Bonner County, the last of Idaho’s 44 counties to finish counting, by about four hours. Initially, Canyon County officials believed the delays were caused by voters marking ballots illegibly, causing the machines to spit out ballots and election staff to review and tally each by hand. County spokesman Joe Decker also attributed the slow pace to troubleshooting and the time it took to call in a technician. … County officials then reached out to the printing company, Caxton Printing Ltd., and encouraged company officials to look at whether “timing tracks” — a sequence of squares and other shapes printed on the edges of both sides of the ballot — were properly aligned. Scott Gipson, president of Caxton Printing, reviewed some of the ballots and concluded that between 800 and 1,000 ballots printed for Canyon County had misaligned timing tracks.Full Article: Printing issue attributed to delayed election results | Nampa | idahopress.com.
Idaho’s Republican presidential primary election cost taxpayers $1.9 million this year, coming in just slightly under what state officials originally estimated. Idaho lawmakers agreed to move the presidential primary from May to March in 2015. The conservative-dominated Statehouse argued that doing so would allow the Gem State to play a bigger role in deciding the presidential nominee. The state’s Republican and Constitutional parties participated in the bumped up election — though Constitutional party votes made up just 500 of the 222,000 votes cast. While Idaho’s Democratic Party had the option to also participate in the primary, minority party lawmakers objected to the move. They argued that taxpayers should not pay for a separate partisan election, particularly because the Idaho GOP primary is only open to registered Republicans.Full Article: GOP presidential primary cost state $1.9 million | Idaho Business Review.
For many, exercising their right to vote is more complicated than just filling in a box. Across the state there are voting machines for people with a variety of disabilities. But KTVB spoke with one voter who’s blind and says those expensive terminals weren’t any help. Boise resident Bill Morgan votes in every election he can. However, he says oftentimes it can be a struggle getting to the polls. In addition, if the machines to help people with disabilities are hard to navigate, some people may find voting discouraging. “I think it’s the most important thing I can do as a citizen,” Morgan said. “People died so that I could vote.” Being blind, he’s been using accessible voting machines in general elections for the past several years. “I will vote any way I can,” Morgan told KTVB. “But if I can make my own ‘X’ that just makes me feel proud. I like that.”Full Article: Frustrations over learning curve with accessible voting machines | KTVB.COM.
Ada County elections officials have stopped short of calling it the first “glitch” in the county’s new $1.6 million voting tabulation system, but it’s definitely on the books as a programming error. Routine testing leading up to the Tuesday’s primary election identified that the first mailing of absentee ballots did not have the correct identifying marks needed to be read by the tabulation software. This first mailing took place on March 30th and included 2,660 mailed ballots. All subsequent ballots mailed have the correct markings and they will tabulate accurately, said Chief Deputy Phil McGrane with the Ada County Clerk’s Office.Full Article: Ada County absentee ballots duplicated after programming error | KBOI.
Legislation to start online voter registration in Idaho has passed the Senate on a unanimous vote, 34-0. It wouldn’t start until after next fall’s general election. The bill estimates a state cost of about $258,000 in one-time development costs, but Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa, said over time the move should save the state money. A study in Arizona found that online registration cost the state 3 cents per voter, McKenzie said, while registering on paper costs about 83 cents per voter. “So over time it does result in cost savings,” he said. “But for the most part, it really just makes it easier for citizens to register to vote. That’s what states have seen that have implemented, so it’s a good-government bill.” In an earlier committee hearing, Ada County Chief Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane told the State Affairs Committee, “As far as clerks go, this is long overdue, in terms of the time and the workload that we handle. … It’s good policy in that it makes voting more accessible to our voting public.”Full Article: Senate unanimously backs online voter registration | The Spokesman-Review.
A billboard along U.S. 95 in Coeur d’Alene claims “Idaho Votes,” with no reference to the Republican Presidential Primary on March 8.
That’s good news to Idaho Democratic Party leaders who protested the signs when the Idaho Secretary of State’s Office put them up earlier this month — at a cost of $20,000 — with the words “Presidential Primary March 8.” The March 8 state-funded primary is only open to voters affiliated with the Idaho Republican Party and the Constitution Party of Idaho. The signs made no mention of the Idaho Democratic Presidential Caucus that will take place March 22. “…your advertising campaign is misleading and inaccurate and likely to cause much confusion for voters seeking to participate in the primary or those voters who associate with any other parties,” stated Idaho Democratic Party Chairman Bert Marley in a letter to Secretary of State Lawrence Denney.
The Idaho Democratic Party is protesting a statewide, 22-billboard voter education campaign launched by the Idaho Secretary of State’s office for the upcoming March 8 presidential primary, because the billboards don’t indicate that the election is just for the Republican and Constitution parties. Bert Marley, Idaho Democratic Party chairman, called the billboards “misleading and inaccurate,” and demanded that Secretary of State Lawerence Denney alter them by Monday. Denney’s office says it’s not planning any change in the $20,000 billboard campaign. The billboards say “Official Information” at the top, with a large “Idaho Votes” logo in the center, with the web address www.idahovotes.gov. Across the bottom in large red letters, the billboards say, “Presidential Primary March 8.”Full Article: Dems object to state-funded primary election billboards | The Spokesman-Review.
Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney proposed legislation this morning to allow online voter registration in Idaho. Nothing would change about how people vote; just how they register. “The first state that implemented it was Arizona in 2002,” he told the Senate State Affairs Committee. “I looked this morning; currently 30 states plus the District of Columbia are doing some form of online voter registration.” The proposal would include verification through the Idaho Transportation Department’s driver’s license records. “I think it’s a very secure way to do things,” Denney said. “It’s cheaper. Most states have reported savings from 80 cents to a dollar per registration from going online. About half of these registrations in these 30 states are received online.”Full Article: Denney proposes online voter registration legislation | The Spokesman-Review.
Facing a busy election year, Ada County said a year ago that it would ditch its antiquated voting equipment and get a new voting system in place for the 2016 presidential election. The county has been using outdated, hard-to-find Zip disks and Zip drives, dot-matrix printers and temperamental counting machines to tally and track vote tabulation. “The risks were becoming exceedingly high for a failure on election night,” said Chief Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane. For the March 8 Republican presidential primary, Ada County will debut a state-of-art replacement, the first equipment of its kind to be used in Idaho. Voters will not notice much difference when they vote. They still will receive a paper ballot and use a pen or pencil to fill in a box indicating their selection. The biggest change will be how and where the county counts ballots. Ada County has been using a central counting system. When Election Day polls closed at 8 p.m., workers from nearly 140 polling places scurried to deliver ballots to the central election office for counting. Most ballots arrived about the same time, but then sat and waited to be fed into counting machines.Full Article: Ada County voters may see faster results with new election system | Idaho Statesman.
The Idaho Legislature is considering another primary election bill which, for voters who plan to vote Republican, further complicates this spring’s two primary elections. The new bill, SB 1195, proposes to move the deadline for switching party affiliation prior to voting in the upcoming May 17 primary election. The bill would move the current deadline for affiliating with the Republican Party from March 12 to Feb 12. Those voters who are officially affiliated with a party other than the Republican Party have already missed the Dec. 9, 2015, deadline to affiliate and participate in the Republican presidential primary race. The Idaho Legislature voted last year to separate the Republican presidential primary elections from all of the other statewide and local primary races that are set for May 17 this year.Full Article: New bill proposes to move deadline for switching party affiliation - Coeur d'Alene Press: Political.
Idaho voters seeking to change their political party affiliation before this year’s presidential primary election would be up against a tight deadline under new legislation introduced Monday. The bill, approved by the Senate State Affairs Committee through a voice vote, would cut off party affiliation changes on the second Friday of February. That would be Feb. 12 this year. The current deadline is March 12. Chief Deputy Secretary of State Tim Hurst says current law allows people to register as Republican during Idaho’s new March 8 presidential primary election and then switch to another party to vote under different affiliation in the May 17 primary for state and local offices.Full Article: Idaho voters seeking to change their party affiliation before this year's Republican presidential primary election would be up against a tight deadline to do so under new legislation introduced Monday.
Idaho: Boundary County now has new electronic voting tabulators, will be used in upcoming March Presidential Primary | Newsbf
Elections and voting in Boundary County will take a technological leap forward this year. Two months from today is the Idaho Presidential Primary election, scheduled for March 8. Boundary County voters on that day will find there has been a substantial change in how they cast their ballots. Up until now, ballots in Boundary County were counted by humans, and by hand. Four or five poll workers staffed the vote counting rooms. One worker would read each ballot aloud, one at a time, while a second worker observed closely as a witness to make sure the ballot was read correctly. Two or three other poll workers would tally votes as the ballots were read. After every 25 ballots, they would stop, and the workers tallying the votes would compare and balance their counts to ensure all were recording the same totals. Poll workers in the counting rooms were not allowed to leave the room until all votes were counted.Full Article: Boundary County, Idaho, News.
Like most political aficionados, Paul Woods looks forward to the excitement of the polls closing and the results pouring in each Election Day. For the past several years, though, Ada County’s results have not poured in. They’ve trickled. Woods had to wait 11 hours after Ada County’s polls closed in the November 2014 election to find out whether he won his race to become an Ada County Highway District commissioner. (He did.) “I stayed up until 2:30 in the morning and they still were not in,” Woods lamented. “I got up at 6 and checked and they were almost done.” Other Idaho counties had tallied ballots and sent election workers home to bed hours before Ada County posted final election results at 7 a.m. In 2012, ballot counting didn’t wrap up until 8 a.m. … Remember Zip disks and Zip drives? That once-cutting-edge computer storage technology fell out of favor around the turn of century. But that bygone technology is still at the heart of Ada County’s election system – and at least part of the reason results take so long.Full Article: Voting in the 21st century: Ada County to ditch ‘antiquated technology’ | Local Elections | Idahostatesman.com.
The Idaho Republican Party is encouraging two of its candidates to ask for recounts in elections that they narrowly lost to their Democratic challengers in the Nov. 4 election. Republican state Rep. Thyra Stevenson of Lewiston lost to Democrat Dan Rudolph by 26 votes. Meanwhile, in the same legislative district, fellow Republican Mike Kingsley lost to House Minority Leader John Rusche by 48 votes. Idaho Republican Party’s Executive Director David Johnston told the Lewiston Tribune in a story that ran Saturday that the narrow margins in both races warrant a recount.Full Article: UPDATE: Idaho Republican Party Pushes for Recount.
Hundreds of people in Ada County have been stripped of their voter registration when they shouldn’t have been. It all came to light when KBOI’s Truth Squad received a call from a woman in Eagle, saying her husband received a letter that said his voter registration was taken away. When the Truth Squad began making calls, Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, said it alerted him to the magnitude of the problem countywide. Charmaine Miller, the Eagle resident, read the letter her husband received in the mail. “Dear David…you are currently registered in Arizona. Based on this information, we have canceled your registration in Ada County, Idaho,” she said. “We’ve never been in Arizona,” Miller told KBOI.Full Article: Ada County wrongly strips more than 750 voter registrations | Local & Regional | Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell, Idaho News, Weather, Sports and Breaking News - KBOI 2.