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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?

Quotable Quote — Debbie Wilkey

“It’s my intention that the legacy of the current coroner doesn’t end with him. I’ll use everything I have to make sure you get the best cause of death” — Kootenai County Coroner-elect Debbie Wilkey in Coeur d’Alene Press. Full story here.

Question: Which “best cause of death” would you want on your certificate?

DOTC: No Ballots Were Counted Early

Dan of the County: To be clear, no ballots are counted early, period. It took two solid days of 8-10 people working to open just the absentee ballots that KC received this time. As it was, every available election worker worked until after 5 a.m. the next morning. I can’t imagine how long it would have been if they hadn’t already at least opened the absentee ballots even with the write-in issue. It sounds like a good compromise would be to still allow watchers but who are located in a separate room with a video feed of the overall process but not in enough detail to see marks on the ballot or at least make them be well back from the process if you can’t trust them not to violate the process of ballot secrecy. More below.

Question: Any other questions re: Election Night for Dan?


Hucks Poll: Congress Split Predicted

  • Tuesday’s Poll: 54 of 93 respondents (58%) correctly said that congressional control would split between the parties after Election Day, with Democrats continuing to control the Senate, while Republicans would take back the House. 28 of 93 (30.1%) said the R’s would take both houses. 7 of 93 (7.53%) said the D’s would hold control of both houses, while 4 of 93 (4.3%) said the D’s would keep the House and lose the Senate to the R’s.
  • Today’s Question: Are you happy with the results of the 2010 Election?

DFO: I’ve asked Blogmeister Ryan to reinstitute the Hucks Online poll in the left rail. In the past, the coding has caused problems with some of your computers. Let me know ASAP if it does so again.

Judges get more power to restrict bail

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington voters overwhelmingly decided Tuesday to give judges more power to deny a suspect bail, after last year’s brutal slaying of four Lakewood police officers by a gunman who had recently been released.

The Legislature approved the measure in the spring, but it was a constitutional amendment and needed voter approval to be enacted. It was passing with about 86 percent of the  vote.

Previously, the only charge for which bail could be denied was aggravated murder. The amendment allows state judges to deny bail when a suspect is charged with any crime carrying a possible life  sentence and poses a danger to the community. About 4,100 defendants a year are charged with such crimes in the state.

“It is a new tool prosecutors and judges can use to keep the baddest of the bad off the streets,” said Reagan Dunn, executive director of the Remember Lakewood campaign. “This was a measured, common sense referendum to the people. It doesn’t violate defendants’ rights and it seems sensible to most people.”

Maurice Clemmons (right) had posted bail less than a week before he killed the four Lakewood officers last November. He had been arrested for investigation of child rape, which could have brought a life sentence because of his previous criminal record.

Among the measure’s supporters was Kim Renninger, the widow of Lakewood Sgt. Mark Renninger, who says it could save someone’s life.

Officers Greg Richards, Tina Griswold, Ronald Owens and Renninger (pictured clockwise from upper left) were ambushed at a coffee shop in a Tacoma suburb on Nov. 29. (Griswold’s sister works for the Spokane Police Department. Her parents live in Post Falls.) Clemmons eluded police for two days, but was shot and killed by an officer in Seattle after a massive manhunt.

Opponents of the measure argued that judges could already set high bail or other conditions of release. The problem in Clemmons’ case wasn’t that the judge who granted the release had too little authority, but too little information about the defendant’s extremely violent past, they said.

At least a dozen other states, including California and Florida, have constitutional clauses or statutes that allow judges to deny bail for charges other than capital crimes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

AM: GOP Tightens Hold On Idaho

Idaho Education Superintendent Tom Luna, left, and his wife Cindy, right, celebrate his victory at the Republican Party Election Headquarters held at a hotel in Boise Tuesday. (AP Photo/Matt Cilley)

Tucker wins 4th term as prosecutor

Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker was reelected Tuesday night. 

Tucker (right) was leading defense lawyer Frank Malone 33,111 to 28,322 with 37 percent of ballots counted.

Meanwhile, Kootenai County Deputy Prosecutor Jim Reierson campaigned for write-in votes despite the fact that he wasn’t eligible to win the race because he lost in the primary. 

After complaining that the newspaper was ignoring his campaign, Reierson (left) backed out on a planned interview with a reporter on Tuesday, saying he wanted to enjoy the nice weather instead.

“I apologize for not calling you this morning, but I just did not feel like it,” Reierson said. 

Jim Camden has the full story at the Spin Control blog.

After the bar brawls are over…

Good morning, Netizens…

There are several key phrases that have bothered me since this election campaign began. I should state at the outset that this election has more similarities to an old-fashioned Stevens County bar brawl than any public process I have ever seen. At least with a bar brawl, you are almost certain that, before long, the Sheriff’s Department will arrive and put some of the combatants into jail before the night is done, but in this election, some of those involved in throwing the worst punches will end up serving terms in government offices with paid health care, perks that you nor I can ever hope to enjoy and worst of all, they are ostensibly serving you and I, the tax-paying voters.

Core values is a catch-all phrase that has captured as many candidates as there are that are speaking. Whose core values are we speaking of? Who says you or I share whatever this phrase means to our elected officials? Core values sounds to me like someone saying, “Here I am, and you know how I stand, so elect me.” On that basis I don’t trust hardly any of the candidates.

That is because, based on previous experiences, once you put someone into public office, they simply cease to represent our core values, but rather represent the core values of government. Either that or they are hopelessly naive. Does this imply that I think the Tea Party candidates fortunate enough to have won hotly-contested offices are going to forgo their lofty-sounding campaign slogans in favor of more of the same discordant crap we have come to accept as government-in-action? I think the Tea Party candidates newly-elected into office are in for a real shock, once they realize the harsh realities of public office.

On the more positive side, at least as of this morning, the local TV stations are once again restricted to serving up the usual ghastly advertising, rather than the absolutely unspeakable political advertisements slamming, if not slandering other political candidates for public office. Even better than that, it is Wednesday, Hump Day, and it might be weeks before we learn whether Patty or Dino are going to be elected to the Senate, longer if you allow for the inevitable lawyers who will sue for various recounts of the ballots.

You get what you voted for. Maybe not.


Tea Partiers Paul, Rubio Score Wins

The Tea Party scored major victories in an election dominated by U.S. economic woes. Republican Marco Rubio is projected to win the Florida Senate race by a wide margin and GOP candidate Rand Paul will win the Kentucky Senate race, according to ABC News exit-poll projections. One of the most high-profile races of the day, however, appears to be less favorable for the Tea Party. GOP Delaware candidate Christine O’ Donnell, who received the most news coverage of the 2010 candidates, will lose to Democrat Chris Coons, ABC News projections show/Huma Kahn, ABC World News. More here.

Question: How do you think the Tea Party will do tonight?

AARP Survey: 50+ Crowd Voting Mad

The only weather forecast that may matter this Election Day is the dark cloud hanging over the most powerful vote in Idaho, voters age 50 and older, as they head to the polls.  According to a new election survey conducted by AARP Idaho over the last 24 hours and released this morning, while 95% of its members say they’ll vote, they also say the candidates aren’t talking about the issues that matter to them. Most identify themselves as Independent voters with moderate political views who aren’t happy about where Idaho and the Country are heading/PR Newswire. More here.

Question: Does it bug you that we old farts may control the outcome of the Idaho elections?

November Traditions

This month turkeys
are selected;
some get stuffed and
some elected.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Happy Halloween?

Good morning, Netizens…

Egods! Cartoonist David Horsey has struck paydirt on the theme of Halloween. Could it be possible that Dino Rossi is the opponent or, by comparison, could that be Pork Barrel Patty? It’s hard to tell this Halloween. They each are taking their shots at one another, so much so that it is difficult to tell one side from the other.

This cartoon does remind me of the George Bush versus Al Gore Presidential election.

What is missing here are the Tea Party members, clanging their gongs and bellowing their imprecations about the Democrats.

I can hardly wait until the election is over.


Gookin Supports D’s In Top Races

My OpenCDA blog buddy Dan Gookin is in trouble, if loyalty oaths and supporting party candidates 100% are important next time he tries to run as a Republican. In making predictions and observations re: select races, Gookin correctly surmises about Phil Hart: “While Hart may have an IQ of 160, politically his IQ is half that.” And then goes on to say in a post that he’s voting for three Democrats for statewide office — Eldon Wallace (lieutenant governor), Bruce Robinett (controller), and Mack Sermon (secretary of state). However, he’s standing by Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna. Not only does Gookin admire Luna, but he thinks Democrat Stan Olson is a “piece of work” and “a dick” (just repeating what he wrote). All in all, it’s a colorful read and gives insight into the inner workings of someone that Duane Rasmussen tried to out during the last City Council election as an individual who wasn’t truly a Republican. Seems Duane was right. Full post here.

Question: What do you make of Gookin’s predictions and observations?

When it will end…

Good morning, Netizens…

The people grinders are hot after it in this pre-election campaign, and I, for one, have found myself growing increasingly grumpy with each robotic phone call. Regardless of the time of day or night, each time my phone (or even my cell phone) jingles, I immediately cringe at the forethought it might be one of these anonymous polling companies wanting to know my opinion. Lord were it that simple! They want to know my opinion, but attempt to make certain I am aware of their particular point of view.

Since in a previous life I learned quite a bit about telephone solicitation, I have accustomed to the fact that no matter what I do, those polling companies that use an automated dialing system, which dials phone numbers at random, rather than from existing client information, will eventually connect with one of my phone numbers, and there is very little I can do about it. In some states this type of telemarketing is illegal. Still, during elections, people unscrupulously use it. Having an unlisted phone number, even putting your phone number on the questionable National Do-Not-Call list, are no protection against these people grinders from reaching your home. Eventually they will find you.

The phone calls aside, you would have to be deaf and blind to have missed the ever-present venomous television advertising extolling the virtues (or lack thereof) of each politician or referendum present on this year’s ballot. Now that we are entering the last few days before the ballots are counted, the particular vitriol of these ads are getting truly vile and in some cases, misleading. It is almost as if the candidates are tossing all decency to the winds, ever in the hope of being elected or re-elected.

I find the current race between Patty Murray and Dino Rossi to be particularly worthless, as some of the advertisements no more resemble reality than an Orson Welles radio show about the arrival of aliens that drove an entire generation into panic. Based upon their advertisements, I still believe the most popular candidates in this year’s election would be a theoretical candidate titled, “None of the Above”.

Of course given the $100 billion dollar advertising budgets, the only parties that will profit from all this are the television stations, the radio broadcasters and other news media members, and there is no end in sight. The only parties that seem to be truly interested in campaign funding reform are the citizens; everyone else talks a good line, but the laws have never been changed.

Thank God we only have a few more days before this, too, will all pass away.


A party for the cast-aside Democrats

The Democratic Party’s decision to endorse Andy Billig has made state House candidate Louise Chadez — despite her longtime affiliation with Democrats  — feel somewhat of an outcast in the party.

At the party’s recent salmon feed, Chadez said, she and other Democrats who didn’t win official endorsements weren’t allowed to address to the crowd. So Chadez is organizing a victory party on Tuesday for her and some other Democrats who didn’t win party backing.

Among the invitees are Spokane County assessor’s candidate Sadie Charlene Cooney and Congressional candidate Daryl Romeyn. Chadez said she didn’t ask Bob Apple to attend because he’s competing in the same race as her. Also not on the list: David Fox, the Congressional candidate who has made recent headlines.

Chadez said her party will be at Working Class Heroes on Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Spokane County Democratic Party Chairwoman Amy Biviano said the Democrats official victory party will be held on Tuesday at Hamilton Photography. Biviano said Democrats not endorsed weren’t given a chance to address the crowd at the salmon feed because the agenda already was full. Candidates not nominated were welcome and used the event for one-on-one networking, Biviano said.

White, Chadez, Billig and Apple take stands on budget cuts

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Here’s the latest video of candidates from the 3rd Legislative District vying to replace retiring state Rep. Alex Wood.

Republicans and Democrats finally unite: Don’t steal campaign signs

The leaders of the local Democratic and Republican parties issued a rare joint statement today on a topic that each election cycle leads to an incredible amount of finger-pointing.

They’re message: Stop stealing signs, stop vandalizing them and stop trespassing.

To see their letter, read the full post:

Al French for county auditor?

Spokane City Councilman Al French appears to be readying for a 2010 election, but what that election is, he won’t say.

“I look forward to serving as long as the public will allow me to serve,” French said in an interview on Thursday.

Earlier this year, rumors were rampant that French was leading an effort to change the City Charter’s term limit rules to allow him to run for City Council president or for a third term on the council. What those rumors neglected to consider is that even if the proposal made it on the November ballot (it didn’t) and voters approved, it still would have been too late for him to run in 2009, and another City Council president race doesn’t happen until 2011.

While French has been successful running in his northeast council district, he’s struggled in other parts of the city. He lost a city-wide council president race to Dennis Hession in 2003 and a city-wide mayoral race to Hession and Mary Verner in the 2007 primary.

He said today that he doesn’t foresee a future run for mayor.

“The window of opportunity was there. I took advantage of it. It didn’t work out, so we move on,” he said. What he’s moving on to, he won’t specify, but he wouldn’t rule out the state Legislature or any county office. If he decides to make a run, he plans to make an announcement by the end of the year, he said.