Old County Courthouse

To vote early in person, head to the Old County Courthouse in Hailey.

    Early voting for the November general election began Tuesday and will continue through Oct. 30, according to the Blaine County Elections Office.

    Meanwhile, Friday, Oct. 23, is the last day to request an absentee ballot in Idaho.

    Blaine County residents outside of Bellevue will have the opportunity to vote in six contested elections; Bellevue residents will additionally elect a mayor and three aldermen. Idaho voters will also decide whether to adopt a constitutional amendment that would set the number of legislative districts in the state—and the number of state senators—at 35.

    Early in-person voting is available Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Blaine County residents can vote early in person at the Old Blaine County Courthouse in Hailey. To learn more about the early voting process, contact the Blaine County Elections Office at 208-788-5510.

    Here’s more on who and what is on the ballot this year:

President

    Seven presidential tickets are on the ballot in Idaho this year: Incumbent Republicans President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence; Democratic nominee Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris; Libertarian Jo Jorgensen and running mate Spike Cohen; and Constitution Party candidate Don Blankenship and running mate William Mohr. There are also three independent tickets: Rocky De La Fuente and Darcy Richardson; Brock Pierce and Karla Ballard; and Kanye West and Michelle Tidball.

U.S. Senator

    Four candidates are on the ballot in the race for U.S. Senator: Incumbent Republican Sen. Jim Risch, Democrat Paulette Jordan, Constitution Party candidate Ray Writz, and independent candidate Natalie Fleming.

U.S. House of Representatives, 2nd Congressional District

    There are four candidates running this year to represent Idaho’s second congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives: Republican incumbent Rep. Mike Simpson, Democrat Aaron Swisher, Libertarian candidate Idaho Sierra Law, and Constitution Party candidate Pro-Life, a person formerly known as Marvin Richardson.

Idaho Legislature

    Two District 26 seats in the Idaho Legislature are contested this year. Incumbent Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, will face Eric Parker, a Republican from Hailey. Incumbent Rep. Sally Toone, D-Gooding, is being challenged by Republican Bill Thorpe of Bliss. Rep. Muffy Davis, D-Ketchum, is running for reelection unopposed.

Blaine County Board of County Commissioners

    Blaine County Commission Chairman Jacob Greenberg is seeking reelection this year, challenged by independent candidate Kiki Tidwell.

Bellevue Mayor and Aldermen

    Bellevue Mayor Ned Burns is seeking reelection against opponent Jared Murphy. Meanwhile, four candidates are on the ballot for Alderman: Robert R. Bradford and incumbents Doug Brown, Gregory Cappel and Tammy E. Davis.

    Both races are nonpartisan.

Other county races

    Three countywide races have only one candidate listed on the ballot: Sheriff Steve Harkins, who is seeking reelection; Commissioner Dick Fosbury, who is also seeking reelection; and Matthew Fredback, who is running unopposed to be the county’s prosecuting attorney. Fredback, who currently serves as deputy prosecutor, announced that he would run for county prosecutor after current Prosecuting Attorney Jim Thomas said he would not run for reelection.

    All three are Democrats.

    Blaine County residents will also cast their vote on whether Fifth Judicial District Magistrate Jennifer K. Haemmerle will remain in office. That office is nonpartisan.

HJR 4

    Idaho voters will decide whether to adopt an amendment to Idaho’s constitution that would set the number of legislative districts—and the number of state senators—at 35, cementing the status quo.

    The Idaho Constitution currently allows the state to have a minimum of 30 districts and a maximum of 35. Idaho has had the maximum number of districts, 35, for roughly 40 years.

    As the state gears up for its upcoming redistricting process, House and Senate Republican leadership have said it’s important to ensure that number isn’t reduced. Past redistricting efforts have gone to the Idaho Supreme Court after accusations of gerrymandering, and legislative leadership expressed concern during the previous legislative session that a judge could reduce the number of districts in the event that this redistricting effort ends up in court, too.

    Critics of the proposed amendment—in both parties—have expressed concern that 35 districts may not be sufficient to represent the interests of all Idahoans, particularly those in rural areas, if the state’s population continues to grow. Continued growth with the same number of districts could mean that some districts experiencing less growth—such as District 26—will have to be rearranged, local lawmakers say.

    Despite sharing some of these concerns during the legislative session, Rep. Sally Toone, D-Gooding, and Rep. Muffy Davis, D-Ketchum, voted in favor of the amendment when it passed through the Legislature earlier this year. Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, voted against it.

Email the writer: gkauffman@mtexpress.com

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