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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Minnick campaign: Franking rules specifically authorize voter info mailings

Idaho Republican Party Executive Director Jonathan Parker says he thinks Rep. Walt Minnick's flier to voters about new voter I.D. requirements crosses the line into a campaign mailing, but Minnick strongly disagrees and notes that House rules for franking, or taxpayer-funded mailings, specifically permit mailings on "voter registration or election information or assistance prepared and mailed in a nonpartisan manner." The rule notes that such mailings shouldn't include a photo of the congressman; Minnick's flier doesn't.

Parker said, "I thought it was odd when it was first brought to my attention. Obviously, franked mail is a privilege given to members of Congress, but when you're telling people to vote, I think it's kind of fishy. ... By informing people that they should go out and vote and that the voting laws have changed, I just personally thought it was crossing the line into the business of campaigning."

John Foster, Minnick's campaign manager, responded, "Why in the world would anyone object to encouraging people to vote? ... It's a nonpartisan issue. ... It's not about helping one candidate or one party, it's about informing all voters so that they have the information they need and we all get out to vote. I can't imagine why anyone would have a problem with that."

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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