Friday, June 14, 2024

Canvass makes election results official

Staff Writer | May 29, 2024 1:00 AM

The county's primary election results are official with Bonner County commissioners signing off on the votes cast in their guise as the Board of Canvassers of Elections.

While 17 absentee ballots were added to the final count from numbers released earlier on election night, Bonner County Clerk Michael Rosedale said the ballots were included in the final results, involved no discrepancies and changed no race results.

"There were no close races," Rosedale said. "The bond and levies were not close. The last canvass we did was the recall and there were a lot of people in this room because a lot of people were interested in the recall, there was nothing close here."

The $4.68 million levy proposed by the West Bonner County School District failed with 2,436 voting against the measure and 2,053 voting for it. 

By precinct, the measure failed in Blue Lake, 252 no to 173 yes; Clagstone, 321 to 61; Edgemere, 293 to 150; Laclede 135 to 102; and Spirit Valley, 475 to 205.

By precinct, the measure passed in East Priest River, 391 to 264; Lamb Creek, 189 to 110; Oldtown 430 to 411; Priest Lake, 110 to 49; and West Priest River, 242 to 126.

"I think on this go-round, people that wanted to say no on the levy learned to be quiet because it was too much," Commissioner Asia Williams said.

Rosedale said there was a "lot of activity" regarding questions about the location of candidate signs, signs in the rights of way and being too close to the buildings.

The new state law requires signs and supporters to be 250 away from the main entry. It also prohibits any circulation of cards, soliciting signatures of any kind of petition, advocating for or against candidates, or engaging in any practice that interferes with people trying to vote or disrupts the administration of the polling place. 

"It is such an odd thing because it has to be 250 feet away from the main entry but private property is a constitutional First Amendment island and you can have things there so it's very confusion."

There were also complaints regarding official party recommendations, something Rosedale said he said three or four versions purporting to be the Republican Party's official brochure.

There were complaints about campaign signs on vehicles and equipment and, in one instance at the Humbird Precinct, where an individual came in with big signs on his shirt or hat and wouldn't leave, upsetting another voter, Rosedale said.

A voter was given the wrong party's ballot in the Clark Fork area, and a voter in Kootenai got the wrong ballot in connection with the Kootenai-Ponderay Sewer District bond. However, both matters were quickly resolved with the voter ultimately getting the correct ballot.

The election is the hardest of the two-year cycle due to the number of different ballots — five in this primary — and due to the number of split precincts where some vote on an issue or race and others do not, Rosedale said. 

"There are so many rules with if you're registered this you can vote that you can't vote that all that kind of thing and it's just it's just a rodeo sometimes," he told commissioners in presenting them with the new canvass report.

The report replaces the previous eight to 10-page report with one done by the Idaho Secretary of State's office which breaks the information down by race and by precinct and "gives a lot of good, detailed information," the county clerk said.

Overall, voter turnout was high for a primary election with 15,215 — or 46.1% — of the county's 32,986 registered voters taking part. At cutoff, the county had 32,537 registered voters with another  449 registering to vote on Election Day.

Priest Lake saw the highest percent of registered voters taking part in the election with 163 of the 276 eligible taking part, for 59.1%. The lowest percentage of registered voters taking part was at the Clagstone precinct, which saw 414 people voting out of a possible 1,301 for 38.1%.