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Eye On Boise

Secretary of State debate: Independents, fingerprints, voting…

Holli Woodings and Lawerence Denney debate at the City Club of Boise; at left is moderator Jim Weatherby (Betsy Russell)
Holli Woodings and Lawerence Denney debate at the City Club of Boise; at left is moderator Jim Weatherby (Betsy Russell)

Some more highlights from today’s City Club of Boise debate between Republican Lawerence Denney and Democrat Holli Woodings:

After Denney took the position that the primary election isn’t really an election and shouldn’t be run by the state, he was asked where independent voters should go for the primary election. “Independent voters right now get the non-partisan ballot, the judges and the other issues that are nonpartisan on the ballot,” he responded. Woodings said she knows many Idahoans who are independents, and they should still be able to participate in primary elections.

Woodings was asked if she’d ever brought an issue to a group where people disagreed. She responded, “I don’t know how many in this room are familiar with the North End Neighborhood Association.” The comment drew laughter. Woodings was president of the association for two years.

Denney was asked about a comment he made in a recent guest opinion, saying he’d seek funding from the Legislature for technology including scanning fingerprints at the polls. “I made the comment and I was talking about technology,” Denney said. “Certainly I didn’t intend to say that we want to fingerprint everyone before they can vote. But there is a technology there that we can use in scanning your signature that we can at the polls verify your signature with your voter registration card.” He said, “We don’t have a lot of voter fraud in Idaho yet.” But he said he sees news reports every day about voter fraud elsewhere. “Certainly Idaho’s not immune, and I think it’s best for us to be on top of the situation to start with, rather than trying to catch up after it’s done.”

Woodings said Idaho already scans signatures to verify them. She said county clerks tell her the cost of the type of technology at the polls Denney is advocating would be “astronomical.” She said, “I trust Idahoans and I think there’s a reason why we don’t have a problem with voter fraud in Idaho and it’s because we’re a really honest bunch.”

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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