This morning’s Coeur d’Alene Press skewspaper got it wrong. Again.
In an unattributed article headlined Brannon seeks another hearing, the Press wrongly stated as fact: “Jim Brannon, who lost the 2009 Seat 2 election to incumbent Mike Kennedy by 3 votes, petitioned for a rehearing Tuesday on grounds that the Supreme Court erred in its decision not to toss out five votes from people living abroad despite not knowing for whom the voters voted.”
Brannon’s Petition for Rehearing Pursuant to I.A.R. 42 clearly states, “The [Supreme] Court’s reasoning in determining this issue is based upon a misperception that the five “UOCAVA” votes are the ones that are relevant to the asserted Idaho Code § 34-2001 (6) error in counting and declaring the election result. They are not.” [emphasis mine]
Brannon’s Petition went on to explain that the five UOCAVA ballots were not the same as the five absent elector ballots that had been rejected (voided) upon receipt.
The trial court judge Hosack found that there were a total of 2051 absent elector ballots received, each in its own envelope. However, among those 2051 absent elector ballots received, five were immediately voided. Thus, there were only 2046 valid absent elector ballots eligible to be counted. The district court judge erred when it failed to deduct the five rejected (voided) absentee ballots from the total number of absentee ballots received, 2051. The election canvass, conducted by Coeur d’Alene’s City Council, incorrectly canvassed 2051 absentee ballots.
The basis for Brannon’s Petition is that five more absentee ballots were counted than were received based on the evidence presented at trial and accepted by the trial court. To put it another way, Brannon’s Petition asserts that five invalid absentee ballots were counted. Five is more than the three vote difference between Kennedy and Brannon for Seat 2 in the 2009 Coeur d’Alene City election.