Pin It
Favorite

Save Our Democracy 

Fingerprinting? There's a better way to protect Idaho's elections

click to enlarge CALEB WALSH ILLUSTRATION
  • Caleb Walsh illustration

For close to 50 years, Idaho has elected Republicans to the office of Secretary of State. In our deeply "red" state this is hardly surprising, but what is notable is how little their party affiliation has mattered.

Republicans Pete Cenarrusa and Ben Ysursa have run the office of Secretary of State with a deep commitment to nonpartisanship, ensuring that elections are run fairly and that every citizen's right to vote is respected. In doing so, they have become some of the most popular elected officials in Idaho's history.

Idahoans have come to take this nonpartisan approach to our elections for granted. It's a fundamental expectation we have for the office and it's assumed anyone running for the position would, of course, continue the tradition of looking out for all Idaho voters, regardless of their party.

click to enlarge reuter.jpg

In fact, this is so ingrained that both Democrat Holli Woodings and Republican Lawerence Denney have publicly and repeatedly pledged to follow the nonpartisan example set by Cenarrusa and Ysursa. If we could count on both of them to truly follow that pledge, there wouldn't be much at stake in the race for Secretary of State this November.

For her part, Woodings appears to be sincerely committed to open and fair elections. She's emphasized increasing voter participation, transparency around campaign contributions and making sure voters have the information they need to make an informed decision. (All three were also priorities for Ysursa and Cenarrusa.) She's demonstrated her commitment to these goals by creating a new election phone app called "IdaVotes" as part of her campaign — it provides fair election information, even including a link to her opponent's campaign website.

Denney has different policy priorities. He says the most important issue is "ballot security" and has proposed scanning voters' fingerprints before allowing them to vote. He also wants to shrink the Secretary of State's job by eliminating primary elections and letting Republican and Democratic Party bosses choose their nominees without interference from the voters.

Just as troubling as his radical ideas on how to run Idaho's elections (at least those elements he plans on eliminating) is Denney's partisan record. His Republican colleagues tossed him from the Speakership of the Idaho House after he was found to be untrustworthy for the position, punishing his own members for raising legitimate ethics issues or casting votes based on their conscience rather than his whims.

He also personally stopped a bipartisan bill to reform lawmakers' pensions when they take higher office — an action that now means he has the opportunity to pocket payments of more than $70,000 a year from the state of Idaho forever, if he wins this election. By the way, at the same time he was protecting his own future payday, he opposed increasing pay by even 1 percent for state employees.

It's true that Republicans have occupied the office of Secretary of State since the late 1960s. But if Idahoans are going to continue our tradition of fair and open elections, the best thing to do isn't to vote for establishing fingerprinting at the ballot box. Instead, it's to vote for Democrat Holli Woodings. ♦

John T. Reuter, a former Sandpoint City Councilman, is the executive director of Conservation Voters for Idaho. He has been active in protecting Idaho's environment, expanding LGBT rights and the Idaho Republican Party.

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in Comment

  • Class Act
  • Class Act

    Seeing through money differences can build relationships focused on fairness
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Don's Ultimate Con
  • Don's Ultimate Con

    Trail Mix: Trump's birther problems and Johnson's polls
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Transparent Motives
  • Transparent Motives

    One candidate's an open book; the other is shrouded in secrecy. Guess which one isn't transparent enough
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue
Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion

Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion @ Mobius Science Center

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 31

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by John T. Reuter

  • Are You Not Entertained?
  • Are You Not Entertained?

    We cry for blood in our political fights. But this isn't reality TV — this is a real fight for the presidency
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • Good News, Bad News
  • Good News, Bad News

    Labor is winning concessions... just as robots are arriving in the workforce
    • Aug 18, 2016
  • Fat Cats
  • Fat Cats

    What Larry the Cat and our Congress have in common
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Murrow's Nightmare

    Debate moderators need to be much more than an onstage prop to make our democracy work
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

election 2016


trail mix


Briefs


green zone


marijuana


Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Balance the Books
  • Balance the Books

    A rigorous, useful education can feature both the arts and the sciences, as one Utah school proves
    • Apr 29, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation