Absentee voting is under way

SANDPOINT — There’s no need to wait until Nov. 6 to vote in the general election.

Absentee voting is under way in Bonner County.

Clerk Marie Scott reports that more than a thousand voters have already requested absentee ballots be mailed to them.

Residents can also cast their absentee ballots in person at the clerk’s elections office, located on the third floor of the Bonner County Administration Building.

The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot via mail is 5 p.m. on Oct. 31. Ballots must be returned to the elections office by 8 p.m. on the day of the election. They cannot be turned in at polling precincts.

Printable absentee ballot applications and voter registration forms can be downloaded from the clerk’s portion of the county’s website (www.co.bonner.id.us). The elections page also has links to the Idaho Secretary of State and other voter resources.

Voter identification laws have been in the national spotlight recently, although the issue is not expected to impact Idaho’s election. Scott said Idaho has a “personal identification affidavit” for voters who are without the required picture ID.

“Idaho has been pretty progressive in meeting the differing needs of its voters,” said Scott.

In addition to candidates for elected office, ballots will also have two proposed amendments to the Idaho Constitution, three ballot propositions and local issues.

Ponderay and Sandpoint’s controversial local option tax proposals will be on the ballot, but only the people who reside in those cities are eligible to vote on those questions.

The first constitutional amendment proposes requiring the Board of Correction to manage and supervise probation for adult felony offenders, leaving counties to supervise misdemeanor offenders. Supporters of the amendment said it would make clear who has jurisdiction over felony and misdemeanor offenders, but opponents counter that it would not address possible different misdemeanor probation treatment among judicial districts.

The second proposed amendment specifies that hunting, fishing and trapping would constitutionally protected, making harder to ban certain types of hunting or erode sportsmen’s rights. Opponents contend such rights are already protected and Idaho Department of Fish & Game’s wildlife management decisions could be constitutionally challenged.

Proposition 1 asks voters if legislation should be approved to limit negotiated agreements between teachers and school boards and eliminate automatic renewal contracts. Proposition 2 queries voters if legislation should be approved to provide teacher performance pay based on state-mandated test scores, student performance and hard-to-fill positions. Proposition 3 involves school district funding and the provision of computing devices and online course for high school graduation.

The West Priest Lake Fire District is asking its patrons to approve a two-year override levy. Only those who vote in the Lamb Creek precinct will be eligible to vote on this question.

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