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Posts tagged: absentee ballots

Absentee Balloting Under Way

Kootenai County Clerk Cliff Hayes announced that absentee voting by mail for the Nov. 6 general election is under way.   “We began mailing out absentee ballots last Friday,” said Hayes, “and we’ll mail out ballots daily for the next several weeks”.   The county is paying return postage on absentee ballots received. Tuesday, Oct. 9 is the start of in-person absentee voting.  The Elections office, 1808 N. Third St. in Coeur d’Alene, is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.  “We’re also going to be open on two Saturdays, Oct. 20 & Oct. 27, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.,” said Hayes.  “We want to make absentee voting as convenient as possible for the voters”/Kootenai County clerk's news release.

You can see the sample ballots for the three county legislative districts below:

Question: Do you plan to vote absentee this year?

DOTC: R’s Will Know Where You Live

DanOTC: Looks like another significant bureaucratic hurtle between the poor voter and their ballot. But at least the Republicans will get updated mailing lists at taxpayer expense so they probably believe their new closed primary law has some redeeming social qualities…but be very afraid to open your mail box once they all know where you live. I would predict that the public will be even stronger in their demand for permanent absentee ballot status. One of our most frequent complaints at the elections office was why in the world did people have to fill that out every year…and that was with a much easier and simpler form.

Question: Anyone plan to check “unaffiliated” when you request your absentee ballot?

Absentees Require Party Affiliation

Kootenai County Clerk Cliff Hayes announced today that a revised Absentee Ballot Application form is now on the County’s website. “The Secretary of State just put out this new Absentee Ballot Application form, although it is dated 2011; and is requiring all Counties to use it,” said Hayes.  “We should have had the revised form last year.”   Over 100 people have already sent in the old form to request their Absentee Ballot, so Elections has to mail them a different request form.  “Then the voter has to fill out much of the same information again.   I’m really sorry for inconveniencing the voting public,” Hayes concluded. The major difference between the two application forms is the addition of Party Affiliation information on the new application/Kootenai County Clerk's Office news release. You can see a copy of the application for an absentee ballot here.

Question: Do you plan to vote absentee and select a party affiliation in a spring election?

Your vote stops here

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho (AP) — The Kootenai County clerk says city halls in the county aren’t secure enough to house absentee ballots so anyone wanting to cast such a ballot early and in person in future elections will have to do so at the Kootenai County Elections Office in Coeur d’Alene.

Cliff Hayes also says it’s too expensive to provide staff to work at the absentee polling sites. The Coeur d’Alene Press reports in a story published Sunday that it will be the first time in decades that several Kootenai County municipalities won’t have their city halls open for early ballot voting.

Some Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene officials are unhappy with the change, noting it will make voting more difficult.

Good idea or bad idea?

Ysursa To Tackle Absentee Rules

Item: Ysursa to tackle absentee ballot rules: Hoffman, Spencer fought ballot opening before Election Day/Jay Patrick, Idaho Reporter

More Info: This time around, Wayne Hoffman, executive director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, took note and petitioned the Idaho Supreme Court on Nov. 1 to put a halt to ballot opening and to have justices declare that the action violated state statute 34-1008 governing the handling of absentee ballots. The code reads, in part,  “The ballot envelope shall not be opened until the ballots are counted.” Chief Justice Daniel T. Eismann dismissed Hoffman’s complaint, saying the court handled appeals of lower court rulings and could not consider it. Larry Spencer, a designated GOP poll watcher in Bonner County, also tried to stop the pre-election day opening with a petition to the district court there — the complaint was dismissed.

Question: Should the law be change to unequivocably allow early opening of absentee ballots?

Court Rejects Spencer Ballot Protest

(Larry) Spencer said it boils down to following the law and not making exceptions for the sake of convenience. “It’s very much about following the rules. Complacency in elections is a recipe for disaster,” said Spencer, who plans on pressing the issue in the courts and the Legislature. County Clerk Marie Scott said the security guidelines are being strictly adhered to. They include storing the locked ballot boxes in a secure location with an armed guard. “The processes that I follow are authorized and approved by the secretary of state’s office. Ben Ysursa is Grand Poobah when it comes to conducting elections — not Larry Spencer,” she said/Keith Kinnaird, Bonner County Bee. More here.

DFO: OK, I can see Spencer’s point somewhat here — that election rules are election rules, and should be followed to the tee? However, I also see a need for common sense to be injected here, particularly in Kootenai County, which had two, high-profile write-in races and beaucoup absentee ballots.

Question: What do you think?

Spencer Challenges Vote Handling

Huckleberries Online and a number of other local media just received a news release from Larry Spencer, challenging the way Bonner County certifies absentee ballot signatures. In bold letters to launch the release, Spencer writes: “County Clerk (Marie Scott) has ‘certified’ absentee ballot signatures using staff, not election judges in violation of Idaho Statute. Election poll challenger (Larry Spencer) arrives on designated day to find that certification of signatures has already been completed, and he is not allowed to compare the ballot envelope signatures to those on file.” You can read the entire release here. At least, now we know where Spencer has been hiding out.

Question: What do you make of the Spencer’s complaint in the news release — that Bonner County isn’t using proper procedure to certify absentee ballot signatures?

USPO Returns Ballots For More Postage

Item: Additional postage has absentee voters licked: Post office admits ballots should not have been returned to citizens/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d’Alene Press

More Info: Absentee ballots across Kootenai County were returned to voters who tried to mail them back to the elections department recently after a postage snafu - even though post office rules regarding mailed votes say they should have been delivered anyway. Turns out, mailing back the two ballots on weight and size alone should cost 61 cents, not the standard 44 cents. Post office rules state that votes should be delivered anyway, as a way to ensure they are counted, post office staff said Wednesday.

Question: What do you make of this snafu?

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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