Voters, start your engines
Elections Systems and Software project manager Trent Schlautman moves signs and supplies into poll workers' cars Monday outside the Kootenai County Elections Office. Today is the primary election. The polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Kootenai County clerk Jim Brannon on Monday points out locking mechanisms as he discusses security measures taken with each ballot box. Voting for today's primary election goes from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Staff Writer | May 17, 2022 1:08 AM
American democracy will be on full display today as the primary election beckons voters to precincts and ballot boxes sprinkled throughout Kootenai County.
The polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
County Clerk Jim Brannon said Monday he wasn't certain what the day will bring.
"There's a lot more interest in primary elections than there was when I first became clerk," he said. "There are many more contested races."
He suspects elections officials will see the bulk of ballots cast.
"Our turnout will be higher than normal, but probably a little less than the years of a presidential race," he said.
Weather should cooperate. According to the National Weather Service in Spokane, the sun will make an appearance for part of the day as voters cast their ballots. The high in Coeur d'Alene is expected to be near 60 degrees.
Elections manager Asa Gray said it will be a steady day that will reveal how well the redistricting map works.
"I think we'll see a good turnout across the board," Gray said Monday. "When we did redistricting, we tried to balance out our registered voter counts to help the lines go faster."
Brannon, who has been the Kootenai County clerk for nine years, is in the sunset of his tenure. After this election, only the November election remains as he serves out his term.
"The elections team, they do a marvelous job," he said. "They are hard working, and they don't get paid a whole bunch of money, but yet they are constantly questioned: 'Are they doing things right?' 'Are they doing things illegally?' If they were doing things illegally, I would be the first to prosecute them. It makes me a little sad when that happens.
"I am going to miss public service, but I am not going to miss those kinds of attitudes," he said.
According to county elections archives, the November 2020 general election blew away previous voter numbers, with 90,519 ballots cast among 103,552 registered Kootenai County voters. That's 87.41% turnout.
While lagging far behind those figures, county primary election turnout has been climbing steadily in recent years. Here's a snapshot:
2014: 21.72% turnout
In May of 2020, only 22,705 Kootenai County residents cast ballots — a quarter of that voted six months later.
Kootenai County has 104,287 registered voters. Gray reported 2,244 early votes were cast for today's election. A total of 7,228 absentee ballots were requested and sent to voters, and 4,460 had been returned as of 2 p.m. Monday.
Here's a rundown of contested races on GOP ballots. Note that the race for First District Judge is nonpartisan so will appear on all ballots.
• Ramont Turnbull
• Brenda Bourn
• Mike Crapo
• Natalie Fleming
• Scott Trotter
• John Dionne Jr.
• Paul Sand
• Edward Humphreys
• Ashley Jackson
• Brad Little
• Lisa Marie
• Janice McGeachin
• Cody Usabel
• Steven Bradshaw
• Ben Cannady
• Scott Bedke
• Daniel J. Gasiorowski
• Priscilla Giddings
Secretary of State
• Phil McGrane
• Dorothy Moon
• Mary Souza
• Raúl Labrador
• Arthur "Art" Macomber
• Lawrence Wasden
Superintendent of Public Instruction
• Debbie Critchfield
• Branden Durst
• Sherri Ybarra
Legislative District 2 State Senator
• Jon Cantamessa
• Phil Hart
• Bill Hasz
Legislative District 3, State Representative Position B
• Jordan Redman
• Rick Small
Legislative District 4, State Senator
• Tara Malek
• Ben Toews
State Representative, Position A
• Jim Addis
• Joe Alfieri
State Representative Position B
• Paul Amador
• Elaine Price
Legislative District 5 State Senator
• Carl Bjerke
• Peter Riggs
State Representative Position A
• Ron Mendive
• Cheri Zao
Kootenai County Commissioner District 2
• Chris Fillios
• Bruce Mattare
Kootenai County Clerk
• Jennifer Locke
• Mike Bauer
Kootenai County Assessor
• Béla Kovacs
• Bob Scott
Kootenai County Coroner
• Duke Johnson
• Mark E. Manteuffel
First District Judge
• Rich Christensen
• Stanley T. Mortensen
Visit kcgov.us/702/What-is-on-the-Ballot to see sample ballots on the Kootenai County Elections website.
Visit kcgov.us/321/Polling-Place-Look-Up to find your polling place.
Questions? Call the Kootenai County Elections office at 208-446-1030.