Lick That Ballot 

Dan English is starting to look more like a prophet than a county clerk should. The Kootenai County Clerk took note of Ada County's voting issues, which included long lines and some minor ballot-counting mishaps, and thinks Idaho could get itself out of the dark ages and into electoral nirvana by instituting a vote-by-mail system statewide.

"It's truly a voter issue," English told BW. Voting through the mail generates higher turnout and removes the hassle of voting on Election Day, he said.

Already Idaho is one of the most dated states in the union when it comes to voter technology; Ada County is only now considering moving from its punch card ballots to an optical-scan system (BW News, "You've Punched Your Last," November 15). But English thinks Idaho is in the lead with voter-friendly laws, including same-day registration, and wants the state to follow Oregon and Washington, both of which already have vote-by-mail systems.

English and the Idaho County Clerks Association have picked up plenty of coverage for their idea, and they've even got a Web site, www.idahovotesbymail.com. Now he's hearing from county clerks in other states who want to try vote by mail too.

"I was surprised by how many people across the country were looking at it," English said.

English and other county clerks have banded together to push the idea, and have the support of Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa. They're hoping to push a bill in this year's Legislature.

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