Eye On Boise

‘Intent is to increase voter turnout’

Rep. Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot, urges a House committee to enact major legislation consolidating all of Idaho's elections to two specific May and November dates, plus two more in March and August for school bonds and levies. The intent is to increase voter turnout and eliminate voter confusion; currently, various jurisdictions and districts run their own elections, sometimes with different polling places voters must visit on the same day. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)
Rep. Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot, urges a House committee to enact major legislation consolidating all of Idaho's elections to two specific May and November dates, plus two more in March and August for school bonds and levies. The intent is to increase voter turnout and eliminate voter confusion; currently, various jurisdictions and districts run their own elections, sometimes with different polling places voters must visit on the same day. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Major election consolidation legislation is up before the House State Affairs Committee this morning, and the crowd, mostly in support, includes Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, who long has advocated the move. The 98-page bill, sponsored by Rep. Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot, would consolidate all of Idaho's elections to two dates in November and May, plus two additional dates that school districts could use for bond or levy votes in March and August. Counties would take over running all the elections, where currently various jurisdictions or districts run their own, and polling places would be standardized. The cost: About $3.1 million. "We're not here to tell you that it's going to be cheap to do what we're trying to do," Lake told the committee. But, he said, "It will cost less per vote than what we're currently paying."

Tim Hurst, chief deputy secretary of state, said, "The intent of this legislation is to increase voter turnout, and we're hoping that it will do that."




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