Andrus heart attack? Given a GOP ballot, the Idaho Democrat improvised

dpopkey@idahostatesman.comMay 6, 2014 

0924 BI MGCecil Andrus.JPG

Cecil D. Andrus

How soon they forget Elected governor in 1970, '74, '86 and '90, Cecil Andrus was the most popular Idaho Democrat of the 20th century. When he showed up to vote early last week, he was twice required to show his photo ID, but somehow received a GOP ballot.

Played it to the hilt Andrus briefly considered making mischief and voting GOP, but decided against it. Conscience clear, he couldn't restrain the impulse to make light of the moment.

"I couldn't help myself," Andrus said Monday. "I threw my arm across my chest and shouted, 'Oh, my God! I'm going to have a heart attack. I just got a Republican ballot!'"

Higher up steps in Ada County election workers and a handful of voters joined Andrus in a good laugh. But, Andrus said, an unsmiling boss quickly arrived and replaced his GOP ballot with a Democratic one. "She was ticked off because I was making a joke."

No harm, no foul "It was an innocent mistake," said Ada County Elections Supervisor Jo Spencer, who wasn't present. "We were certainly glad we could catch it and fix it."

No joke? Andrus said the GOP's move to require photo ID and close their primary to non-Republicans is bad policy. "Voting used to be simple. You walked in, got a primary ballot, went into the privacy of the booth and voted in whichever primary you wanted. I don't know why it has to be so difficult to get the job done."

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