Sponsors of a vote-by-mail proposal are still scratching their heads this week as they watched their measure head for a vote by the entire House, then get re-routed back into a committee for more hearings. The measure, which is backed by most of Idaho's 44 county clerks and Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, would have allowed counties to opt in to a system where ballots are delivered to homes in the mail, as is done in Oregon and Washington.
Rep. Clete Edmunson, a Council Republican who sponsored the measure, was as confused as the next guy about why House State Affairs chairman Tom Loertscher, a Republican from Iona, wanted to pull the bill back for further consideration. Critics of the bill, including GOP Rep. Lynn Luker of Boise, worried about voter intimidation and the ability of poll watchers to challenge illegitimate voters, but those concerns were brought up in the original hearing.
"This is a major shift in policy," said House Speaker Lawerence Denney, a Midvale Republican. "We'd better take it slow and we'd better get it right. It could have an impact on the outcome of these elections."