City Government

Baumbach Claims Victory In Precinct Battle

We previously posted a dispute voiced by Boise City Council candidate Lucas Baumbach over what he claimed was a conspiracy to “disenfranchise” conservative voters through gerrymandering.

Today, he offers up a press release claiming vindication and posing half a dozen questions to the city clerk. The GUARDIAN will try to post substantive information on issues from all candidates.

BAUMBACH’S release:

“September 3rd, 2009, overnight Boise City changed its website,
revising the Notice of Precinct Selections. The combination of 92 and 81 is now replaced by a combination of three precincts 92, 93 and 96.
1) The City Clerk has already said this will cause overcrowding, with about 3,000 voters combined at one polling place.
“Regarding Precinct 92 combining with 81, it is at the suggestion of the Ada County Elections Office to give a better distribution of voters. Originally, we had it combined with Precinct 93 which also has precinct 96 combined with it. That would have almost 3,000 voters voting at precinct 93 which is really more than our election workers can handle at one location.”
2) Why are they determined to close conservative precincts, like 92, 95 and 96?
3) Why didn’t they send a notice out regarding the amended precinct selections? Candidates were not notified.
4) How often are they going to give a new notice of precinct selection? Each week?
5) How are candidates supposed to plan campaigns with the repeated changes? The changes favor the incumbents Maryanne Jordan and Vern Bisterfeldt.
6) By the City’s own admission the current recommended poll closure is wrong.

Lucas Baumbach takes this change in the website as validation of his criticism and as admission by Boise that their evaluation of Precinct closures has been wrong. Lucas calls on the City to spend a little more to open precincts in all locations, considering combinations in
only low voter turnout precincts, like 72, 40, 86, 88. If the City can spend money on building parking garages, and trolley feasibility studies, it can spend money on protecting the right to vote.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. With all the shady things the city is doing with our money these days (lets not forget doubling a perfectly good ambulance service) we ought to look into it. He may be on to something.

    It would not surprise me if it was true. The perception that I get is that they do what they want and then we discover what they did.

    It’s easier to ask for forgiveness then permission correct?

  2. I ride a bicycle to do a lot of small trips. That said, I have observed people who ride bicycles like two wheeled flies at a picnic. Ride like that and you increase the probability you will be just so much juice on the windshield of a car. Or worse yet imbedded in the grill and radiator.

    You are not going to win on a bicycle in a collision with a car. Get used to the idea and ride like the guys in the cars can’t see you all of the time. Especially in transitions from shade to bright daylight and evening and moring shadows.

  3. “The City of Boise provides an election process that is open, fair, and responsive to the needs of all eligible citizens. We constantly strive to increase the accessibility and efficiency of the services we provide.” Source: Boise City Clerk’s web page.

    It seems Lucas might be onto something here. Not necessarily a conspiracy or gerrymandering though. Lucas is asking some pertinent questions. Questions both the City and the County should answer.

    The initial combination of precincts 81 and 92 appear to be the result of a pretty big blunder on the part of both the City and Ada County. Apparently those folks looked only at the numbers and not at an actual map where the precincts are really located. If they would have taken the time to look at a precinct map, like the map on both their publicly available mapping web sites, it would have been apparent that combination wasn’t a practical one.

    Now it appears another even bigger blunder may have been made. Combining precincts 92, 93, and 96 does seem to create one monster of a precinct. Perhaps even more than one polling place can be reasonably expected to handle in a timely manner on Election Day. Even considering that only about 2/3rds of each of those precincts are inside city limits it is still a monster of a precinct.

    Both the City and the County have very robust, cutting edge computerized mapping units which could have assisted the “front line” folks on where to combine precincts. It appears neither the City nor the County “front line” folks bothered to consult with the mapping folks. Because of that oversight, the lines to vote in precincts 92, 93, and 96 come November may be really long.

    Are precincts being closed? No, but some are being combined. Does it benefit the incumbents? Probably not. Could it frustrate voters? Perhaps. At least there is the vote by mail option.

  4. Gerrymandering and incumbent protection schemes should be illegal and would be in a free country.

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