May 8, 2012

“It Isn’t Logical”

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 8:52 am


After reading Secretary of State Ysursa’s letter dated May 1 in OpenCdA’s post titled Is He Believable?, commenter “Chouli” responded by saying of Ysursa’s letter, “It isn’t logical.”

“Chouli” is correct — Ysursa’s opinion is illogical.  It is also inconsistent with the way laws are written by citizen legislators.   It is also completely inconsistent with Ysursa’s testimony in a hearing before the House State Affairs Committee in 2004.

In the Coeur d’Alene recall, there are three separate and distinct events that occur one after the other in time and in sequence.

The first event in time is the petition signature gathering. The mechanism and time allotted for that event is found in Idaho Code § 34-1704.

The next event in time is the signed petitions are to be  turned over to the City Clerk who must “promptly” turn them over to the County Clerk.  The City Clerk has no authority to take any official action affecting the County Clerk’s final action.  The third event in time occurs when the County Clerk receives the petitions from the City Clerk and then examines them to determine how many valid electors signed each petition.  These two events are described in Idaho Code §34-1706.

Each of those three events has a more or less defined segment of time.  The first event, signature gathering, must be completed by the 75th calendar day after the prospective petition was approved for form.  On or before the 75th day the petitions must be turned over to the City Clerk.

The second event, the City Clerk’s receipt and handling, does not have a precisely defined duration.  The statute only says the City Clerk must “promptly” deliver them to the County Clerk.  How many days in a “promptly?”

Upon receipt, the County Clerk has 15 business days to complete his statutorily prescribed duties and make his determination and notifications.

Sounds simple.  It is.  Or at least it was until someone got to Secretary of State Ben Ysursa and persuaded him to exert his influence on the outcome of the Coeur d’Alene recall effort.

Here is why Ysursa’s interpretation isn’t logical.

Ysursa’s interpretation makes it impossible for petition signature gatherers (Recall CdA) to know how many days they have to complete the first event in the sequence — gathering the signatures.   In Ysursa’s opinion, the number of signature-gathering days they have is made dependent on how many days will be needed for the City Clerk and County Clerk to perform their duties, the second and third events in the sequence.  But the City and County Clerks can’t determine that until after the first event has been completed so they know how many signatures (petitions) have been turned in.

Ysursa’s interpretation literally makes the first event in time (signature gathering) dependent on foreknowledge of how long two future events in time (City Clerk and County Clerk handling and processing) will take, and the duration of those events can’t be determined until after the petitions have been turned in.

In short, Ysursa’s interpretation requires Recall CdA to be mindreaders, to be able to foretell precisely the number of days required for two events that will occur in the future and whose duration will be dependent on the output of the first event!

Ysursa’s interpretation becomes even more illogical when the reader understands that I.C. 34-1704 refers to 75 (calendar) days to gather signatures, whereas I.C. 34-1706 refers to 15 business days for the County Clerk to process petitions.  In the recall election calendar, 15 business days translates into 21 calendar days, thus reducing the 75 calendar days to 54 calendar days to gather signatures.  If the legislators had intended that a specific number of days be allowed for signature gathering be any fewer than the 75 days specified in I.C. 34-1704, they would have said exactly what that number was.

Does anyone really believe that some convoluted calculation using imaginary numbers was the intent of the Idaho Legislature?  Dr. Timothy Leary maybe.  Ben Ysursa maybe.  But not Idaho’s Legislature.

In fact, the minutes of the House State Affairs Committee hearing on February 4, 2004, reveal that Ysursa testified exactly the opposite to his convoluted interpretation in his May 1, 2012, letter.  That Committee’s minutes reflect Ysursa’s position on House Bill 559 – Recall Procedures to be thus:

Mr. Ben Ysursa, Secretary of State, spoke in support of the bill.  He said that it spells out the time limit of 75 days to gather signatures for a recall.  The intent was to make the language clearer about recall procedures.

Ysursa’s official conduct amounting to interference in the recall effort in Coeur d’Alene reminds me of this song by 1960’s humorist Tom Lehrer.

“Chouli’s” comment that Ysursa’s letter “isn’t logical” is a very charitable characterization.  I’d go further and say it is incoherent.



  1. Ysursa needs to be officially challenged with a demand for an explanation. His position now is conflicted by his testimony from February, 2004 on HB-559 where he is on record that 75 days is the time to gather signatures.

    Comment by Gary Ingram — May 8, 2012 @ 11:28 am

  2. The certification when turning over the petitions if considered applicable can easily mean them being notarized by certifying the person is who they say they are. Consistent with HB-559 and Ysursa’s statement he also initially determined 75 days was the number for gathering signatures, then in short order he overturned his own position far from all consistency. Not only that soon to follow Prosecutor McHugh completely dropped his petition for declaratory judgment as a result of Ysursa’s flip-flop without apparently looking into it farther.

    There is no question that URD has become big, extremely big business, in Idaho that includes URD business entities that exist as advocates of URD. I imagine the contacts with Yusura’s office flowed in obviously with considerable influence Statewide. The wheels have been greased from one end of the State to the other.

    Comment by Appalled — May 8, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

  3. Ysursa appears to be intellectually challenged. Officially challenged? Hmm. The doctor would not suggest that anyone hold their breath waiting for that to happen. The demos don’t have any horsepower and the repubs are all being carefully to not cause waives until at least after the November election. By that time it will be to late.

    Comment by up river — May 8, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

  4. Gary Ingram,

    Officially challenged by whom?

    This is the same person who for years allowed county clerks to open absentee ballots early, illegally, contrary to Idaho Code 34-1005. He was finally caught, so he decided to get the Legislature to pass a law that would have ratified his illegal action. The House State Affairs Committee humiliated him and Hurst and refused to pass his ludicrous bill out of committee. So they simply ignored the law. It’s the Idaho way, ya know?

    And now he’s been caught having made statements that conflict with his prior testimony in front of the House State Affairs Committee, so I ask again, who is going to challenge him? Clem? Larry the Boy Barrister? Lawerence of Midvale?

    Comment by Bill — May 8, 2012 @ 4:42 pm

  5. The Rankin one would have, way back when. He would have filed for a Writ of Mandamus (there is that Latin again!) and even the Might Ysursa will fold like a cheap suit when hit with one of those.

    R.I.P Ron, you are missed!

    (R.I.P. = Latin: requiescat in pace for those in Rio Linda and liberals in every place.)

    Comment by Pariah — May 8, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

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