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Primary elections being held today

by ANNISA KEITH
Staff Writer | May 17, 2022 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Today citizens all over Bonner County will have an opportunity to express their voices in who they want to be their local leaders.

Many local races have a packed field, with contested races seeing more than two candidates vying for the same positions.

Most notable of which is the District 3 seat, being vacated by Commissioner Chairman Dan McDoanld; District 2, currently held by incumbent Jeff Connolly; and County Assessor, currently held by incumbent Donna Gow.

County Clerk Michael Rosedale said he has never seen such contested races in his eight years as clerk.

“This is happening with a unique vigor that I haven’t seen before,” Rosedale said Monday.

He said there is a good chance that there will be a higher turn out in this off-presidential election, when compared to the last one in 2018.

“I think we will beat that this year because of the new focus and interest in the whole electoral process,” he said. “I think everybody is a little amped up because elections overall are much more in the limelight now than they were before two years ago.”

Rosedale said that there is no likelihood for voter fraud in the election, due to the strict method of how vote totals are documented, and then passed on to the secretary of state.

“When I get results, I print it out on paper downstairs on the machine that’s not connected to anything. I print that, then I take an unused thumb drive, I take that up to my computer and I upload that to the secretary of state’s website. Then I compare what the secretary of state’s website shows to the paper to make sure they didn’t scramble it or anything like that. I do that every time,” Rosedale said.

Rosedale also said that forging absentee ballots is not possible with Bonner County’s system of documenting votes.

“All of our absentee ballots are issued with a barcode. And they only get received back with a certain barcode that pulls up that particular voter's name and their signature,” the county clerk said. “So you could stuff a ballot box with 1,000 ballots and fake envelopes, but they wouldn’t even be considered, there would be no worry because there is no possible way they could ever count.”

Polls open at 8 a.m. and will remain open until 8 p.m. There are many polling places throughout Bonner County, as well as a ballot drop box at the county administration building at 1500 U.S. 2.

Votes will be tallied at the administration building, with early return results coming as early as 8:30 p.m., however, the entirety of the results are expected to be finished in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Those interested in watching results in real time can do so by going onto the county’s website where updates will be posted. Go to BonnerCountyID.gov, select Elections from the “Department’s” menu, found at the top of the web page.

The link will take viewers to a secure website that says “Bonner County Elections,” the first link below the header “Preliminary Primary Results,” will show vote results. The link will become active once polls close.

Although a general election will be held later this year on Nov. 20, today’s primary election carries a little more weight for Bonner County residents and all Idahoans.

According to data from the 2020 Census, and the Idaho Secretary of State’s 2020 voter registration totals, 49.76% of Idaho’s population is registered to vote. The statistic increases significantly for Bonner County, where 60.34% are registered.

Of those registered to vote, over half are registered Republicans in both metrics, with 50.4% in the state, and 56.58% in the county.

Because registered Republicans make up the majority of Idaho voters, the primary election takes on a bit more significance.

In 2011, the Idaho Legislature passed House Bill 351, closing primary elections. Meaning, if voters wish to vote in a primary election, they can only do so in their registered party.

Given that a majority of Idaho voters are Republicans, the results of the primary election have a large impact on the outcome of the general election in November.

Unaffiliated voters can declare a political party to a poll worker on Election Day if they wish to vote in the primary election, according to information from Idaho Education News.

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