City Government

Election (or not) With No Voters Is Possible

The May 17 election is set to include a ballot measure seeking bonding authority for nearly $ billion to build a development of about 7,000 homes in a development called “Spring Valley” north of Eagle.

At last check the GUARDIAN found the Ada County election office could not find any “qualified electors” living within the “community infrastructure district” (CID) which was established years ago to finance the proposed project through sale of municipal-style bonds. Under the scheme lobbied into law by the developers of Avimor rather than using their own money, developers are able to sell the bonds and then place the repayment financial liability on each parcel as it is sold. The election would consider taking out up to $600 million in debt, with an additional $311.5 million in interest — for a total of $911,560,484, to be paid back over 30 years.

The Idaho constitution states in ARTICLE VI, SECTION 2. QUALIFICATIONS OF ELECTORS. Every male or female citizen of the United States, eighteen years old, who has resided in this state, and in the county were [where] he or she offers to vote for the period of time provided by law, if registered as provided by law, is a qualified elector.

So what happens when they hold an election and there are no voters? Ada County’s legal staff and the election office are studying the issue. So far, we hear the developer is struggling to come up with a couple of voters.

It appears there will be challenges if the developer is unable to come up with legal Idaho residents of the CID who own property and have lived there for at least 30 days. In reality it would seem nearly impossible to find financial backers who would rely on the vote of a handful of property owners to finance nearly $1 billion.

Here is the Idaho law on voting:
IDAHO CODE 50-3102
(13) “Qualified elector” means a person who possesses all of the qualifications required of electors under the general laws of the state of Idaho and:
(a) Resides within the boundaries of a district or a proposed district and who is a qualified elector. For purposes of this chapter, such elector shall also be known as a “resident qualified elector”; or
(b) Is an owner of real property that is located within the district or a proposed district, who is not a resident qualified elector as set forth above. For purposes of this chapter, such elector shall also be known as an “owner qualified elector.”

Legal scholars we contacted agreed that provision 13(b) could face constitutional challenges in that it allows non-residents to vote if they own property.

The GUARDIAN visited this issue back in 2011.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Development doesn’t pay for itself, especially in places like the Eagle foothills. The recent revival in interest in development in Avimor/Spring Valley, along with the purchase of the Eagle city council and Mayor’s office, seems to coincide with a bubble in housing prices and low interest rates. As rates rise and housing prices decline and crash, will they still be interested in building here? There must be some cutoff point for housing prices they can sell there, under which it’s no longer feasible to build even with subsidies from current Eagle taxpayers and a $1 billion bond. Obviously there wouldn’t be any proposal to build here if they could only get $100,000/house, so what is the break even point? “If you build it, they will come,” seems to be their motto, but any future residents will be signing up for debt bondage.

    When I hear proposals like this, I start to wonder if Idiocracy wasn’t really a documentary on modern American life.

  2. This is horrible. Ada County has many gaps in its law/code enforcement. Karma help us.

  3. Western guy
    May 2, 2022, 10:09 am

    And who are the geniuses (lobbyists, lawyers) working for the developer & City of Eagle who didn’t do their research?

  4. Maybe the developers can get some MULES to run some ballots to some ZuckerBoxes.

    Phil McGrane can certify the whole thing and once again declare that Ada County is clean as a whistle in its elections.

    And the cemeteries are full of voters that still return to cast their ballots from time to time.

    EDITOR NOTE–We will post your comments, but they are inaccurate and unfair.

  5. western guy
    May 12, 2022, 4:41 pm

    Ain’t ‘free speech’ (whether accurate or not) a great principle to live by?

    Morons and the under class (under educated, employed, financed, etc.) can believe anything they hear/see on Trump TV.

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