Meridian School officials got a resounding 74% approval for a $10,000,000 supplemental tax levy from a tiny fraction of the registered voters–about 6.5% of those who could have voted.
There are about 79,000 registered voters in the Meridian District which takes in parts of Boise and most of western Ada County including Eagle and Star as well as Meridian.
The levy passed by a vote of 5281 YES to 1855 NO. We watched the Channel 6 newsy accurately proclaim that officials were thrilled at the turnout which was nearly DOUBLE that of a similar election two years ago.
The GUARDIAN was critical of the “stealth” nature of the election, but after our story was posted there was good coverage last week by the legacy media. Legislators are considering passing a law to schedule school elections only on certain dates statewide and not allow districts to hold them at will.
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Mar 4, 2009, 7:31 am
If they wanted to be “thrilled” about the turnout, they would have actively publicized the vote. This is a way of manipulating the vote. ACHD did the same thing last fall knowing they would be able to try again if it didn’t work (in addition to spinning the ballot language).
Mar 4, 2009, 7:54 am
$10,000,000 sorry I see it as a waste of tax payers money. It never goes to where it is really needed in the schools. From principles on up there should be big cuts in the wages. That would have made more sence.
Mar 4, 2009, 9:17 am
What we need is a law that clearly states that if there is less than 50 percent of the voters turning out for any of these special elections the election is nil and void. This would force the election to be held on the two year cycle or once every four years.
This one pretty much was the icing on the cake for me. I am having meeting with Wyoming state offcials to move my national, international business to that state. This is going to cost Idaho many hundreds of thousands of dollars in unemployment insurance. To say nothing of the huge loss of money coming into the valley from across the nation and around the world. I’ve had it with this demeanor that the citizens serve parasites in Idaho government. I’m voting with my feet.
Mar 4, 2009, 9:28 am
All of the problems we are having in this country, including those thug like people who get elected to national politics, are because people with a vote are apathetic. TV and beer more important than long range planning. The grouped election bill is a great idea… make sure it includes even little peewee stuff like this election. You in government who may think this sort of stealth election is a victory… we the people will run out of money at some point… your shrinking budgets will continue if you don’t become a better caretaker of what you’ve taken.
Mar 4, 2009, 9:37 am
For my money, the story here is – well – the story.
“…from a tiny fraction of the registered voters–about 6.5% of those who could have voted…”
These numbers are in no way restricted to this one issue or election; but are indicative instead of a well earned cynicism and apathy amongst the electorate.
Disheartening at a minimum.
Mar 4, 2009, 5:17 pm
I first heard of this levy vote over a month ago so I can’t buy into this “stealth election” conspiracy. And no I do not have any children or grandchildren in the Meridian district. So to quote the great Canadian philosopher Getty Lee “If you choose not to choose then you have made a choice”.
Mar 5, 2009, 9:46 am
A quorum makes some sense. A quorum of 50% would be fairly high, but even 30% would be much better the Meridian example.
But I don’t buy the fact that the electorate is apathetic. The school district can’t rely on the main stream media to get word out. A an ever increasing amount of people are turning to the internet to get their news. The school district needs to figure out ways to reach these people.
The legislative proposal started out with two dates but has since expanded four dates from what I understand. These election will be run by the county at an increased cost. But the electorate gains standardized elections at regular polling stations.
Mar 5, 2009, 10:54 am
Could you post a link on the group levey bill?
Reading your article it seems that it is just applying for school elections, or is it a broader spectrum than that?
Considering the cost of holding any election…it seems wise.
Mar 5, 2009, 12:19 pm
At least it takes an election to raise taxes and not the vote of some town council or worse, a town hall meeting that can be packed with union folk of special interests, as I grew used to in Maine….
Mar 5, 2009, 1:05 pm
Yeah, I’m pathetic but the powder at Bogus was awesome! All elections should be at the designated election time. That is when we elect stuff. Why does this not make sense?
Mar 5, 2009, 4:28 pm
Mr Watcher, if we had a 50% turnout requirement very few elections would be valid. Even here in Idaho, with the relatively high voter turnout, few elections would meet that threshold including the general election on most occasions.
As far the consolidation of elections, I have some misgivings. If every taxing district were included in the general election the ballot would be so crowded it would be overwhelming. Here’s the list of tax districts on my bill:
School District 2
Western ADA Recreation
College of Western Idaho
For a list of taxing districts on your house look at your tax bill or go to http://www.adacountyassessor.org and put your address in. Even if you’re a renter, you pay those taxes by proxy.
Rather than rolling these elections into the general election I’d rather see a separate date established for consolidation of the the district elections along with the caveat that the super majority law be repealed.
Mar 16, 2009, 4:09 pm
We have a system of minority rule. They are the only ones who care enough to turn out for elections. Majority rule is an oxymoron when you think about it in elections with so few of the electorate who take the time to show up and vote.
One answer is to have elections at only two times of the year…May and November. Special elections are by design used to limit voter turnout.