January 31, 2012

Dangerous Legislation, Part 3

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 9:37 am

Rep. Susan Chew


Representative Susan Chew is sponsoring House Bill 428.  This bill “Amends existing law to provide that an elector may elect to have an absentee ballot sent to his or her residence on a permanent basis by signing a form supplied to the county clerk and to provide that if such election is made the elector shall receive an absentee ballot for all elections conducted by the county clerk and shall be ineligible to vote at the polls in such election.”

This is another very dangerous piece of legislation which will essentially make it very difficult for Idaho’s county clerks to enforce residency requirements for municipal elections.

Please note that on page 1, beginning at line 16 and ending on line 18, the proposed legislation reads:

The application shall contain the name of the elector, the elector’s home address, county, and address to which such ballot shall be forwarded.  [emphasis mine]

That is the wording of existing law, and it remains unchanged in Representative Chew’s proposed legislation.  When read in conjunction with the lines that immediately follow beginning on line 18 and ending on line 22, an applicant for any election administered by county clerks, including municipal elections, would be allowed to list a “residence” address in Idaho but have absent elector ballots mailed (“forwarded”) permanently to an address in another state or even another country such as Canada.

This was precisely what was done in the November 2009 Coeur d’Alene City Election.  Follow the link to the SF-76A, Registration and Absentee Ballot Request – Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) of Canada resident Alan Friend.

Note that the address Friend listed in block 3 as his voting residence address is a Coeur d’Alene business address, not a residence address as required by Idaho Code.  Also, note that block 4, “My current address (where I live now),”  is a Nelson, BC, Canada address.  And finally, note that in block 6, Friend asks that voting materials be sent to the Canada address he lists in block 4 “indefinitely, as a permanent absentee voter.”

How can a person be a resident of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, when he declares he is a “permanent absentee voter” living in Canada?

“Residency,” where a person actually lives, is very important in deciding in which Idaho elections, if any, an applicant will be allowed to vote.  Representative Chew’s proposed legislation muddies rather than clarifies that determination by Idaho’s county clerks.  This legislation should be rejected as written.


  1. Where is all this stuff coming from?

    Comment by Ancientemplar — January 31, 2012 @ 9:54 am

  2. Sorry to have wasted your time Bill
    I just read her bio. Born in Oakand,Ca,
    And educated at Berkeley. Nuff said….and she h
    olds office in Idaho?

    Comment by Ancientemplar — January 31, 2012 @ 10:02 am

  3. This Bill is draconian. When it is combined with Rusche’s Bill it is apparent that the ‘Ds’ are making a push to trash even the semblance of the legitimacy of elections.

    Comment by Joe Six-Pack — January 31, 2012 @ 10:13 am

  4. Also no surprise that she is a Democrat. There has been a big push in the Democrat Party all across the country to loosen any rules about voting and let everyone vote without exception. That’s why they are so against the Voter ID rule. And, in some areas back east, they are pushing for automatic voter registration for anyone signing up for state or federal assistance…welfare, food stamps, etc. Automatic.

    Comment by mary — January 31, 2012 @ 10:13 am

  5. Ancientemplar and Joe Six-Pack,

    It looks to me as if Rusche’s and Chew’s bills are an effort to ratify and continue rather than correct the vulnerabilities in Idaho’s election laws exposed by Jim Brannon and Starr Kelso in the 2009 Coeur d’Alene election contest lawsuit. I’m pretty sure more ratification legislation will follow.

    Until the lawsuit turned up the volume, those vulnerabilities were being very quietly exploited to the detriment of fair and honest elections in Idaho. That exploitation allowed illegal votes to be cast by illegal voters and to nullify legal votes cast by legal voters.

    It was bad enough that our former county clerk was asleep at the switch, but the Idaho Secretary of State and Idaho Attorney General have to shoulder some of the blame, too. They have a duty to Idaho’s voters and our elected representatives in the Legislature to spot vulnerabilities before they can be exploited and then submit remedial legislation to correct them. They failed.

    The Association of Idaho Cities as well as the Idaho Association of Counties (particularly through its affiliate the Idaho Association of County Recorders and Clerks) need to carefully examine all proposed election-related legislation to determine if it is a proper attempt to prevent and correct vulnerabilities and ensure honest elections or if it is an attempt to continue and ratify these vulnerabilities so their exploitation can continue to the detriment of Idaho’s honest, legal voters.

    Comment by Bill — January 31, 2012 @ 11:29 am

  6. There are 3 Bills on the floor concerning voting. Two specific to mail in ballots only. They are: and Not sure the purpose of the other bill though
    When the County Commissioners tried to minimize the County Precinct representation there was talk that they and the Reagan Republicans wanted a mail-in ballot for the County voters.

    Contact your local representatives now and express your concern over these proposals. Your voice counts!

    Comment by curious1 — February 1, 2012 @ 8:03 am

  7. curious1,

    I approved your comment, but I had to change your hyperlinks. The three in your comment did not work. Please let me know if my edits changed the meaning or intent of your post.

    In fact, there are other pieces of voting legislation. Representative Kathleen Sims has introduced House Bill 381. It amends and adds to existing law to revise qualifications of electors; to provide a written warning on the application for an absentee elector’s ballot form; and to revise procedures for counting absentee ballots. Its purpose is to clarify and emphasize the need for residency requirements of Idaho’s electors and to ensure the validity of absentee ballots and their count.

    Unlike the legislation proposed by Reps. Rusche and Chew, Rep. Sims’ proposed legislation is trying to correct vulnerabilities in state election law so that only legally cast votes from legal voters will be accepted and counted.

    Comment by Bill — February 1, 2012 @ 8:20 am

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