November

There’s a major election coming up this November and most of us know less about it than the presidential primaries next March.

(Actually, there’s an election even closer–August 27–but it seems a sleeper.  The recall elections for Middleton School District trustees Tim Winkle and Aliesha McConkle are the only contests I know of in Canyon County.)

But in November, 2C voters will be deciding holders of about 40 different offices in 15 different political entities.  This record-breaking number is brought to you courtesy of a legislature that moved school board elections from March to the November Tuesday when city council elections are traditionally held. (Legislators are banking on this improving voter turnout.)

And, in contrast with our even-year elections, when campaigns stretch from May to November, we won’t know who is running until eight weeks before the election.

Candidate filing runs from Monday, Aug. 26, to Friday, Sept. 6.

So, there’s still time to become a candidate.

Admittedly, there are good reasons not to run. These offices take  time–the papers to review before a meeting typically run three-inches high,. You get a lot of hassle–you really can’t please people all the time. And the pay ranges from next-to-nothing to nothing.

Still, some offices, like an open seat on the Nampa City Council, will attract several candidates–two have already announced–while seats in small towns and school districts may get none.

Why should anyone run?

One, we owe it to our world not to let a nut job just walk into a position. A lot of filings happen the final Friday afternoon when concerned voters realize that no one they trust has filed.

Two, we may have ideas about changes that should be made.

That’s super. It means we’ve paid enough attention to issues to have a campaign message. Win or lose, running for election will get our ideas before the public.

Three, it’s something good citizens can do to make a positive difference and give something back to the community.

And four, it’s an opportunity to gain experience working with people, planning projects, and making tough decisions. City councils and school boards are mini-legislatures; one can gain insight into the complexities of law and what it takes to make meaningful change.

And the positions are non-partisan, perfect for independents who feel they should be doing more than darkening small ovals a few times a year.

Still not dreaming of running?

Then help someone else.

You will make a difference; enthusiastic volunteers always do.

Of course, you have to do something–and stuffing envelopes and licking stamps hardly happens anymore. Postcards are more likely to be read–and printing houses get cheaper postage.

Volunteers contact voters directly.

There are a lot of decisions to be made, however, before phone calling or door knocking starts.

Who do you contact?  The County Elections office can give candidates lists of eligible voters. But do you want very eligible voter–that’ll take lots of volunteers — or only those who voted in the last election for the same office?  (That can backfire if you’re running against an incumbent; he or she got the majority last time.)

What issues do you mention?  What handouts do you use? What do you do if no one is home?

 How do you keep track of who likes the candidate and who doesn’t?

Do you need to file a Sunshine report? How much is the candidate allowed to contribute?

How do you register voters who’ve just moved? Should you encourage people to vote absentee?

Read. Talk to those with experience. Volunteer. Contact voters. Contact them again.     Have fun.
Note this editorial by Judy Ferro published by Idaho Press – 2019

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