Friday, May 14, 2021

Way to vote, Kootenai County!

| November 20, 2020 1:00 AM

Here's one election result we can all agree upon happily:

Kootenai County voters showed up.

According to the Secretary of State's official canvass, announced Wednesday, Kootenai County had the second highest turnout in Idaho. Itsy bitsy Freemont County led the way with 88.1 percent voter turnout, and we finished second at 87.4 percent.

But here's the thing: Kootenai County has more than 13 times the number of registered voters as Freemont. In our humble opinion, that lends more weight to our percentage of registered voters actually getting out and doing their thing.

And when you think about the nation's 65 percent turnout, the highest since 1908, the Kootenai County voter shine is even brighter.

It's fun to try to figure out why our voters were more motivated than most others. Unquestionably, Kootenai County is packed with a preponderance of engaged citizens. That plays out across the political and social spectrum in many ways, including awareness of and support for so many worthy causes.

In going over the results of the local election, which was handled about as well as a tsunami of ballots during a pandemic could possibly be handled (cheers to Clerk Jim Brannon, his team and the many Election Day volunteers), a handful of interesting numbers emerged.

408: That's the number of blank ballots that were turned in locally.

268: That's how many Kootenai County residents voted for Kanye West for president.

71.34: In the three federal races — president, U.S. Senate and U.S. House — that's the leading percentage any candidate earned. It wasn't Donald Trump. It wasn't even the venerable Sen. Jim Risch. It was Russ Fulcher, who's now wrapping up his freshman term in Congress and faced a formidable opponent in Rudy Soto.

83.48: That's the highest percentage of earned votes in Kootenai County-based contested legislative races. And it was earned by a candidate whose last name we're going to have to learn to spell — Doug Okuniewicz. (No wonder he's called Doug O.)

64.51: That's the slimmest margin of victory among contested legislative races, owned by Sen. Mary Souza of Coeur d'Alene.

56,301: The number of Kootenai County residents who voted against the vehicle fee request, not all that many fewer than voted for Trump for president (62,837).

0: Once again, a partisan election has come and gone without a single Democrat winning office here.