Friday, July 03, 2020
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Finally, the talking is almost over

| May 31, 2020 1:00 AM

No local primary election has ever had this kind of buildup.

Our founding fathers would approve.

Candidates for sheriff have been in various stages of promotion for a good two years. The Press has published more than 55,000 words on that race alone.

Two-thirds of the Kootenai’s executive administrative team, the Board of County Commissioners, is up for grabs. Depending on Tuesday’s (and possibly Wednesday’s) tally, much more than property tax direction and massive spending decisions could shift. For instance, the ill-conceived and short-lived building code rebellion, snuffed by Bill Brooks and Chris Fillios, could gain new steam in 2021 if even one of those men is defeated.

The Republican ballot offers some intriguing matchups for Legislative seats, including a fascinating battle in District 2. Doug Okuniewicz and Tim Kastning, both familiar names in the community, have been slugging it out down to the wire. In District 3, three Republicans with conservative credentials but dramatic background and perhaps ideological differences are offering to serve as senator: Peter Riggs, Marc Eberlein and Alex Barron.

Advisory-only questions on urban renewal and a possible inmate re-entry center make for fascinating water-cooler debate and cheering or booing once the ballots are counted. People have strong opinions on both — some guided more viscerally than factually, which is part of the fuel that gets citizens to participate in the electoral process.

Citizens should appreciate the tremendous workload handled by the county’s Elections Department. Jim Brannon, Jennifer Locke and their team — bolstered by some other county employees chipping in — have been up to the task of somehow keeping an avalanche of ballots between the ditches, answering phones that don’t stop ringing and going with a historic flow shaped largely by a coronavirus.

Our president may question the validity of an all-absentee election, but the belief here is that if he came to Idaho, met with Gov. Brad Little and Secretary of State Lawerence Denny, then visited Kootenai County, he would see why this primary election is the most popular ever and voter confidence unwavering.

Yes, that’s an invitation.