Tag Archives: elections

High Tech Fail: Idaho’s low tech paper ballots ranked one of most trustworthy for U.S. elections!

08 January 2017 (13:51 UTC-07 Tango 06) 19 Dey 1395/09 Rabi ‘ath-Thani 1438/11 Ji Chou 4714

The University of Sydney, in Australia, recently published their study of the U.S. voting system (done with the cooperation of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University), or systems since there is no standardized system of voting across the United States.

The latest and greatest electronic voting systems failed to boost the election integrity of the more populous U.S. states.

In fact, Idaho’s old fashioned mainly paper ballot system helped The Gem State earn the second highest ranking for election integrity in the United States (behind tiny Vermont)!  Keep in mind that the logistics of casting and counting votes in Idaho is delegated down to the county level, also realize that even though Idaho is considered one of the best for election integrity there were several cases of documented vote fraud.

And time for another reality check, the United States as a whole (once considered the leader in world democratic ideals) is still ranked among the lowest for election integrity in the ‘western’ europeanized world (once known as Christendom), along with the United Kingdom.





Right to Vote? Yeah Right! Mo Vote fraud confirmed in Idaho & Washington!

29 November 2016 (11:43 UTC-07 Tango 01) 09 Azar 1395/28 Safar 1438/01 Ji Hai (11th month) 4714

An Idaho man is facing charges of vote fraud, in two states, using his dead wife’s name.  The FBI is now investigating.

Nez Perce County and Asotin County election auditors were told that a man was bragging that he voted twice on the Nez Perce Indian Reservation, which covers both the states of Washington and Idaho.

Apparently he used his dead wife’s name to file a mail-in vote, then voted at a walk-in polling station.  After getting the tip auditors compared signatures on ballots, then questioned the man, who supposedly kept changing his story.  But wait, there’s more!

During the signature check election auditors found questionable signatures on at least 40 ballots!  They even found mail-in ballots that were sent in the wrong type of envelope, and some that came in after the deadline.



Idaho makes it harder to get a library card than to vote!

08 November 2016  (04:05 UTC-07 Tango 01) 18 Aban 1395/07 Safar 1438/09 Ji Hai 4714

“To receive your permanent library card bring in a photo ID and proof of your current address. If you are under 18, a parent or legal guardian will need to be present to approve your application and show photo identification and proof of current address.”-Boise Public Library

In Idaho it’s harder to get a library card than to vote.  All you need to register to vote is an Idaho identification with your pic on it. Yet to get a library card you need that plus proof of residence, like a utility bill!  But get this, even if you don’t have a photo ID you can still vote in Idaho using a Personal Identification Affidavit!


Russian Elections: The return of the Red Menace? Violence during elections

The U.S. media has reported that Vladimir Putin’s political party is losing support in the latest Russian elections (although still in power).  But which party is gaining support?  Why it’s the old school communist party from the days of the Soviet Union.

The most recent check of Russian media polling results showed Putin’s United Russia party in the lead with 49.54% of the votes.  The next highest party is the Communist party with 19.16% of the vote.  But does it really matter?

In Moscow, more than 300 people protested the elections, saying they were not fair because all the political parties involved were not true ‘opposition’ parties.  Things got violent, with police arresting at least 100 people.



In time for Elections, Idaho cuts Medicaid by another $8 Million, more to come

15% of Idahoans, who rely on Medicaid, are going to be hit with yet more cuts, to the tune of $8 million, with more cuts on the way.

Already this year there have been about $22 million in state funding cuts, and $83 million in federal funding cuts.  The cuts to dental care are causing great confusion has hundreds of dentists were cut from the program, then told they were re-instated, but that no payments would be made for ‘over treatment’.  Many dentists say the state has not clarified what qualifies as ‘over treatment’.  Also, their contracts can be canceled without reason.

According to the Associated Press, the new $8 million in cuts are targeted at mentally ill adults, and children with disabilities.  And those wont be the last of the cuts; Idaho wants to cut a total of $57 million from the 2011 Medicaid budget.

Remember Idaho has already cut hundreds of mentally ill adults off medicaid, with the result of incidents of violent crime (like the recent random shooting in Pocatello).  Here’s what one concerned Idahoan had to say: “These kinds of changes aren’t going to save us any money in the long run,” said Kelly Keele, a board member for Human Supports of Idaho. “These people are going to get worse without those services and then we’re going to bear the brunt of that in our justice system and corrections.”

By the way, the Associated Press had to file a public records request in order to reveal that the state of Idaho was planing more cuts.  That means our elected officials are trying to keep their budget cuts a secret.  Makes you feel warm all over going into the end of year holiday season.

Pay for Local East Idaho County Officials a Rip Off

If pay for Pocatello and Chubbuck officials is a bargain, then we’re getting ripped off from Bannock County officials.

According to the League of Women Voters, Bannock County Commissioners, and Officers, make $60,000 + per year.  The one exception is the County Coroner who makes only $23,195 per year.

Let’s put that in perspective.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Bannock County, Idaho, has a population of 80,812.  The majority of which live in the cities of Pocatello and Chubbuck.  When you combine the population numbers of those two cities, that totals 61,166, or 75% of the total population in Bannock County.  Now realize that the residents of those two cities get most, if not all, their services from their cities.  So why is pay for officials at the county level so high, compared to city officials?

Here’s another interesting piece of information; Bannock County has the highest tax rate in the whole state of Idaho (actual total dollar amount collected is not the highest in the state, there are several counties that collect much more than Bannock).  County officials point out that most of the taxes end up going towards the cities of Pocatello and Chubbuck, and School District 25.  If that’s the case, where is the county getting the money to pay the high salaries?

In a side issue; former Pocatello Mayor Roger Chase, in an interview he did as mayor, said that the top employers in Pocatello are not paying property taxes. Chase implied that those taxes are being passed on to everyone else who is paying property taxes.

Considering the population of Bannock County, and the fact that 75% of that population live in two cities that are providing their services, and the fact that most of those city’s elected officials make far less money than the county officials, I don’t see the justification for the higher county pay.  I’d like to see future candidates for county positions run on a pledge to lower their salaries.

The League of Women Voters of Idaho have their own website; lwvid.org.  The information about the pay of officials is published in a brochure.  For Bannock County, it is published by the League of Women Voters of Pocatello. It also contains cities of Chubbuck, and Pocatello, and state and federal official’s salaries.

Pay for Local East Idaho City Officials a Bargain

My critical attitude towards local City officials was tempered, a little, after reading the amount of pay they get.

To make it clear what a bargain the officials of Chubbuck, Idaho, are, I’ll remind you that Allstate announced the planned opening of a call center here, with a starting annual salary of $27,000.

According to the Pocatello League of Women Voters, the Mayor of Chubbuck gets $45,000 per year.  Doesn’t seem bad for Chubbuck, but then the official population for the city is only 9,700.  It gets better with the city council. Chubbuck City Council members get $6,300 per year.

Obviously they’ve got to have income from elsewhere, and explains why most are business owners.  As local business owners it means, theoretically, that they are very concerned with the local economy.  This is another reason why your voting attention needs to be focused locally; your local officials have more impact than some fat cat in Washington D.C.

Pocatello, bigger than Chubbuck, with an official 2000 census population of 51,466, pays its officials more.  The mayor gets $74,268, but compare that to the city council.  They get paid $10,033 per year.

I hope local officials don’t push for an increase in their pay.  The local voters and taxpayers, of Chubbuck and Pocatello, are getting a real deal with current salaries.  The League of Women Voters of Idaho have their own website; lwvid.org.  The information about the pay of officials is published in a brochure.  For Pocatello and Chubbuck, it is published by the League of Women Voters of Pocatello. It also contains county, state and federal official’s salaries.

Idaho Higher Education a Must by 2018. Political Candidates Fail to Help Idaho Students

According to a Georgetown University study, Idaho will see an 61% increase in jobs requiring some level of higher education, by 2018.  Last night, during the Idaho gubernatorial debates, all three candidates, Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter, Keith Allred and Jana Kemp, failed to explain how they would help Idahoans with college.

The candidates seemed to miss the fact that the number one issue with potential college students is cost.

As a non-traditional college graduate (I went to college late in life because it seemed like the only way to progress in the workplace was to get a degree) I can tell you the piddly grants are not enough, you must get student loans.  I also worked part time because the loans did not cover my family’s living expenses.  But who wants to get a loan that will be with you until you die?  I was never told how student loans are exempt from bankruptcy, or about the cases where graduates lost their apartments, and their jobs, because they couldn’t make the full student loan payment.  Why couldn’t they make their payments?  Because the jobs they got with their degrees didn’t pay them enough.  I also learned that it’s only the Federal loans that can be deferred.  I have two private loans and they could care less that I can not make their full monthly payments.  One of them actually sent me fake court documents with a letter that said if I didn’t start paying in full, that the next court documents would be real.

My oldest daughter is currently working full time in Boise, and she attends Boise State University thanks to student loans (even working full time she can’t afford the college expense).  My other two adult kids have decided that if the cost of going to college means getting into lifelong debt, then it’s not worth it.  They are right!  Crap, I could have bought a house with the money I owe for college, and it would have been a better investment!

So what did Otter, Allred and Kemp have to say about the issue of higher education?  Basically they all agreed that it was an issue of concern, because Idaho was going to need more college graduates for its workforce.  Otter and Allred said students should look into going to a community college, if they are worried about cost.

Eastern Idaho Technical College says its part time credit fee is $82.00, full time fee of $884.00.  Idaho State University (my Alma mater) says its current part time fee is $273.00 per credit (much more than what I paid), full time $2,708.00.  That’s a big difference between an eastern Idaho vo-tech and an eastern Idaho university.  Don’t forget those are just the credit fees. There are other fees and book costs, all of which have been going up.  Also, the per credit cost of the vo-tech seems low, but, that is only $60.00 less than what I paid when I started attending ISU.

When it comes to money, potential college students are not dumb.  Why get into debt when the job you get with your degree most likely will not pay you enough to meet living expenses and your student loan payments?  Vo-tech seems the most practical choice, and they usually help you find a job with your degree.  But if your sights are set on a higher degree forget it.

Jana Kemp talked about, basically, an add campaign to raise awareness of the importance of higher education. That is already happening, but it doesn’t address the concerns of students, and their families, about affording college.

Keith Allred mentioned a program where high school students can get college credits by enrolling in courses run by colleges.  That’s true, but, you still have to pay a per credit hour fee, and for some families it’s still unaffordable.

Butch Otter mentioned the expansion of financial aid, but the majority of so called financial aid still comes in the form of loans.

So, once again, the problem is cost. Is it affordable, and can the student avoid a huge debt burden?

Essentially, not one of the candidates said anything about bringing down the actual cost of higher education, or making it easier for students to pay for college without incurring a heavy debt burden, or making sure the jobs that want college graduates will pay enough to cover all expenses.  Even though all three candidates are college and university graduates, it appears they are out of touch with the current reality of getting a higher education.

Vote Local, Screw National!

Elections are coming up. Local, state and national. Which elections affect you the most? Local of course! Those City and County buffoo… officials affect your day to day life directly. Your State Legislature also has a direct impact on your life.

The Federal Congressional gang does impact us, but indirectly, by coming up with Federal domestic (national) laws, policies and regulations. Then there’s the  President of the United States. He can plead with the Congress, and then sign into law, or reject by veto, anything Congress sends his way. Meaning his impact is as indirect as the Congress. The President’s true authority is in Foreign Affairs, not in Domestic Policy.

So why do so many people in the U.S. vote during presidential elections, and so few vote during non-presidential elections?  Here’s some statistics from the most recent General Elections: 2008 presidential elections saw 56.8% voter turnout, compared to 2006 non-presidential elections of only 37.1% (www.infoplease.com). In fact, since 1970 voter turnout for non-presidential elections has remained stuck in the upper 30% range.

Those stats are the average for the whole country. How about locally? Here in Bannock County, Idaho, in the May 2010 Primary Elections only 22.97% of registered voters voted (www.co.bannock.id.us).  Hopefully many more people will vote in the up coming General Elections.

I hope it’s more than the 2006 non-presidential General Elections. In that year the state wide voter turnout in Idaho was in the 40% range (elections.gmu.edu). You might think that’s not bad, but compare that to the 50-60% range for the 2008 presidential elections (elections.gmu.edu). I’d like to see 60% turnout in general non-presidential, local elections.

Stop putting your hope into the Congress and the President of the United States! Send a big message to Washington D.C. by putting your voting power where it will have direct impact on your home state and your hometown. Lets see huge turnouts for local elections!