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EDITORIAL: Do your part to protect voter rights

| November 4, 2022 1:00 AM

The nation’s voting system works.

It is not fraught with fraud, as case after case over the past two years has affirmed without a single exception.

In Idaho, voters can have complete confidence that whether they vote early, absentee or in person, their vote will count and be properly tabulated if they filled out their ballot correctly.

That’s a huge hat-tip not just to Secretary of State Lawerence Denney and his team, but to the 44 county clerks, who oversee elections locally. That includes Kootenai County Clerk Jim Brannon and his elections department staff.

However, there is one deeply troubling development that demands the utmost vigilance. It is potential violations of the state’s electioneering laws, which protect voters from inappropriate persuasive tactics. Among them, the law prohibits the distribution of "cards or handbills of any kind" within 100 feet of a polling place.

In the local election last November, several citizens testified that they witnessed a poll worker in Hayden circulating pamphlets about Critical Race Theory. However, a jury this fall acquitted the accused of the misdemeanor electioneering charge, perhaps because there were no education-related issues on that specific precinct’s ballot.

Yet the electioneering law clearly states that circulating “cards or handbills of any kind” is prohibited. A failure to convict on the electioneering charge may encourage others to flaunt the law going forward.

State and county officials have asked the voting public to please be alert to potential violations on Tuesday. If you see anyone you believe might be electioneering within 100 feet of your polling place — and yes, that includes inside the polling place itself — please immediately contact your precinct’s supervisor.

If you believe the precinct supervisor is complicit or is not treating your concern as an urgent matter, call the County Elections Department immediately at 208-446-1030.

Well-trained and honest elections staff do all they can to make our election system work, but even the best can use your help. Exercise your right to vote — and ensure a safe place for others to exercise theirs.

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