Officials at the Ada County Board of Elections tell Boise Weekly that early voter turnout has been low—approximately 80 voters a day—since early voting began Oct. 15.
"But that's about right for this type of election," Supervisor Jo Spencer told BW.
Early voting will offer special Saturday hours today—from 10 a.m - 4 p.m. at the Ada County elections office at 400 N. Benjamin Lane. Early voting will continue weekdays and will run through Friday, Nov. 1. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Three incumbent Boise City Council members are seeking reelection this year: Council President Maryanne Jordan is being challenged by Paul Fortin and Bryce Petersen. Councilman Ben Quintana is being challenged by Tyler Smith. Councilman T.J. Thomson is being challenged by Jill Humble and Bill Jarocki.
Municipal elections are also happening in Eagle, Garden City, Kuna, Meridian and Star.
But perhaps the highest profile election in Ada County are two bond issues being put before city of Boise voters.
Bond No. 1, totaling approximately $16.9 million would set aside $6.8 million for construction of a new fire training facility and another $10.1 million to upgrade or replace four aging fire stations; Bond No. 2, approximately $15.5 million would earmark $10 million for further Foothills preservation, in addition to some open space along the Boise River and other natural areas; and $5.5 million to fund three new parks and add new amenities to three existing parks. Adding in bond issuance costs, the bonds would total $32.9 million. Taking 20 years to pay them off inflates the total to more than $50 million.
City officials say that the impact to an average homeowner should be about $1 per month. They're estimating that based on the average assessment of a Boise home—$184,000—a household should expect to pay an extra $12 a year in property taxes, if both bonds pass. A business with $1 million in taxable property value would be expected to pay an extra $132 per year if the bonds pass.
Passage of either bond will require a two-thirds majority.
"We have a lot of work to do,” said Hollis Brookover, co-chair of the Yes! Yes! for Boise campaign.“Most people understand what they’re going to get for that twelve bucks. Most people want parks for everybody. And they certainly want the right fire engine to get to where it needs to go.”
But there is opposition to the Yes! Yes! effort, and in the next edition of Boise Weekly, we'll drill into that debate and examine how this particular bond election has become one of the most sophisticated campaigns in Boise history.