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.
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