All politics and election news

Post Falls to vote on school levy, bond

Population growth in Post Falls was putting pressure on its schools a decade ago, but officials held off asking voters for help when the economy soured and was slow to rebound. “It’s time,” Superintendent Jerry Keane said. “We delayed it as long as we can.” Read more

Shawn Vestal: Too quick to mock lawmaker for anatomy query

As someone who initially gloried in the apparent idiocy of Vito Barbieri and his tiny-camera question, I think it might be time for a second opinion: Vito was wronged. Barbieri – whose political ship tacks right so hard that it goes in circles – was saying something ridiculous while questioning a doctor on a bill that would ban doctors from overseeing abortions by videoconference. But it is very, very unlikely that he does not know that a pill swallowed by mouth does not proceed to the vagina, and it is very, very likely that he was posing a rhetorical question, and not a literal one, however inartfully he did it. Read more

Coeur d’Alene School District voters to decide on two-year levy

At Lakes Magnet Middle School north of downtown Coeur d’Alene, a small room inside the main office is piled high with obsolete textbooks. A larger room one floor up is stacked with hundreds more, some more than 10 years old. New, relevant instructional materials that align to the latest educational standards and curricula are one of the priorities of a $15 million-a-year school levy the Coeur d’Alene School District has on the March 10 ballot. Read more

Editorial: Prepaid postage for ballots would boost voter participation

Washington should try putting the “mail” in mail-in voting by providing prepaid postage on ballot envelopes. Despite a relatively high turnout rate compared with other states, too many Washington voters are losing or discarding the ballots that are their tickets to full participation in our democracy. In November, returns collapsed to less than 40 percent of eligible voters for only the third time since 1958, and the first time since mail-in voting became the rule for all Washington elections. Read more

Spin Control: Weighing candidates’, voters’ return on election investment

How much should a reasonable person spend to secure a $42,000-a-year job? A job with pretty good benefits, like a strong health care plan, generous expenses for food and lodging, and a decent pension – if you keep the bosses happy and they keep you around for a while. It’s mostly inside work, no heavy lifting, although you may have to spend time with people who disagree with you, and some who can be downright disagreeable. You have to agree to work 105 days straight, although no one ever does. There’s no clock to punch, and no one docks your pay if you don’t show up on one or even most of those days. Read more

More men than women voted in November in Washington

Washington’s 2014 general election may go down in the books as the year of the male Republican voter. For the first time in a while – it’s not quite clear how long – more men cast ballots in Washington than women. Not just for all voters, but in every age group broken down by state elections officials. Read more

Idaho’s longtime Secretary of State Ysursa to retire

BOISE – After 40 years in state government, Ben Ysursa has strong opinions about how things ought to work in Idaho – and how, on occasion, they have. For example, when both of the state’s political parties came together, they successfully passed a ballot measure to create the College of Western Idaho, now the state’s fastest-growing community college. Read more

Republicans begin remaking Senate

OLYMPIA – The axiom that elections have consequences is much in evidence in the capital these days as the Senate’s new Republican majority rearranges the deck chairs. Although they have kept the title “Majority Coalition Caucus” in an apparent nod to Sen. Tim Sheldon, the one Democrat in their midst, gone is any suggestion of power-sharing with the remainder of the minority Democrats. All committee chairmen or chairwomen are Republicans, as one would expect when a party has enough seats to decide most issues by itself. Read more

Hundreds protest new background check law

OLYMPIA — Hundreds of gun-rights advocates, some dressed in camouflage and some wearing Santa hats, gathered on the Capitol grounds to denounce the background-check law voters approved last month. Read more

State gets grade adjustment of voter guide

OLYMPIA — Like a college student keeping a watchful eye on the GPA, the Secretary of State’s office successfully argued for a higher grade and got an A on its voter guide. The grader in question, Ballotpedia, had to admit it missed a feature worth… Read more

Betsy Z. Russell: Recount confirms results of Stevenson, Rudolph race

The recount has been completed in the District 6 Idaho House race in Nez Perce County, and the outcome was the same as it was on election night: Freshman Rep. Thyra Stevenson, R-Lewiston, has lost to Democratic challenger Dan Rudolph. The final figures from the recount showed Rudolph beating Stevenson by 25 votes, down from the 26-vote margin in the final, unofficial count on election night. Stevenson gained one vote in the recount. Read more

Stevenson picks up one vote in recount, Election Night outcome unchanged

The recount has been completed in Nez Perce County in the District 6 House race, and the outcome was the same as it was on Election Night: Freshman Rep. Thyra Stevenson, R-Lewiston, has lost to Democratic challenger Dan Rudolph. The final figures from the recount… Read more

Will Condon overcome the curse of Spokane’s one-term mayors?

Mayor David Condon is a guy’s guy. Early in his term, he referred to himself as an “action guy.” Not long ago, he called himself an “accountability guy.” Earlier this week – during an interview discussing his time so far in office – he called himself “kind of an operations guy.” Read more

Idaho ranks middling for percent of legislative races contested in the general election

The National Institute on Money in Politics reports that 36 percent of state legislative races in this year’s general election, nationwide, were uncontested, up from an average of 31 percent from 2001 to 2012. And in some states, including Wyoming, a large majority of races… Read more

Idaho voter turnout ‘abysmal’ at 38 percent

BOISE – As Idaho certified its election results Wednesday, it became official: This year was the first time that less than 40 percent of the voting-age population cast ballots in a general election. “Frankly, it was disappointing,” Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa said. “We broke through a barrier that we didn’t want to break through.” Read more

Recount requested in District 6 legislative race, set for next week

The Idaho Attorney General’s office has received a request for a recount of the Nez Perce County portion of a District 6 legislative race, from losing candidate Thyra Stevenson, a Republican. Stevenson lost to Democrat Dan Rudolph by 26 votes. Mike Kingsley, who lost to… Read more

Idaho voter participation hits record low

As Idaho certified its official election results on Wednesday, a troubling distinction emerged: This year’s election was the first time ever that less than 40 percent of Idaho’s voting-age population cast ballots in a general election. “Frankly, it was disappointing,” said Idaho Secretary of State… Read more

The four most interesting things I learned in 2014 Spokane County elections

4. Voters at Fairchild Air Force Base support expanded background checks for gun sales – resoundingly. Initiative 594 won the precinct at Fairchild 72 votes to 38. On the other hand, maybe they don’t. Voters there also supported Initiative 591, though not by as much… Read more

Sunday Spin3: More on the gun initiatives

In politics, as in military campaigns, victory has many fathers. That may explain the self-congratulatory press release from supporters of I-594… To continue reading this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog. Read more

Sunday Spin2: Did the Ayes have too much of it?

Spokane County voters said yes to both gun initiatives, causing some observers on the West Side of the state to scratch their heads on election night. One could reasonably vote no on I-591 and I-594, they opined, but voting yes twice seemed illogical on measures… Read more