Elections

Election Day is here. You want to learn before you vote. Here’s a quick guide to help

Correction: This mayoral runoff is not the city’s first. The Statesman has written a story looking at past runoffs.

Election Day is Tuesday. You want to be a good citizen and cast your ballot, but you don’t even know who — and what — is on the ballot. This guide is for you.

It’s an off-year election, with no big federal or state contests. But there are plenty of city ones. If you care about the Treasure Valley’s growth, escalating housing prices, property taxes, police and fire protection, and parks — that is, many of the problems and services that help define city dwellers’ everyday lives — this is the time to vote.

Use this quick guide. Scroll down to your city, then read its highlights and follow its links to news stories, our Voter Guides with candidates answering questions in their own words, short videos by mayoral candidates with their “elevator pitches” to you, and other information about mayoral and city council candidates and ballot measures.

Ada County cities and districts are listed first, then eastern Canyon County cities.

Scroll to the bottom for links to endorsements by the Statesman’s editorial board.

Need the very basics? Don’t know if you’re eligible to vote, or where your polling place is? Go here.

ADA COUNTY

Boise

The highest-profile race in the Valley is the one pitting four-term Mayor David Bieter against six challengers. Like all municipal elections, this one is nonpartisan, though party allegiances and organizations play roles.

Boiseans also will vote to enact or reject two proposed city ordinances — one requiring a citywide election on a proposed new library, the other requiring a citywide election on a proposed baseball and soccer stadium. Three of the six City Council seats are up for grabs, too.

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Six of the seven Boise mayoral candidates sit in front of dozens of people at a forum Thursday, Oct. 10. Candidates (from left: Lauren McLean, Cortney Nielsen, David Bieter, Rebecca Arnold, Adriel Martinez, Brent Coles) debated the library, transportation and homelessness in the city. Hayley Harding

Mayor: Meet the candidates

The Idaho Statesman profiled the four most prominent mayoral candidates:

Bieter, the incumbent. And here’s his 1-minute elevator-pitch video.

Lauren McLean, the City Council president. Here’s her 1-minute elevator-pitch video.

Rebecca Arnold, the Ada County Highway Commission president. Here’s her 1-minute elevator-pitch video.

Brent Coles, the former Boise mayor. Here’s his 1-minute elevator-pitch video. Here’s our 2013 story on the impact of the scandal that ended Coles’ administration 10 years after he resigned.

The other candidates are:

Cortney Nielsen, Central Rim resident. Here’s her 1-minute elevator-pitch video.

Wayne Richey, auto-body technician. Here’s his 1-minute elevator-pitch video.

Adriel Martinez. (He didn’t show up to make an elevator-pitch video.)

Here’s our mayoral Voter Guide with candidates answering questions in their own words.

Could there be a runoff?

Boise hasn’t had one in recent history, but the Ada County Clerk’s Office is preparing for one this year. Here’s our story.

City Council: Meet the candidates

Here’s our story introducing readers to all of Boise’s seven mayoral and 11 council candidates, with their ages, occupations, and brief statements about their candidacies and priorities. Here’s our council Voter Guide with candidates answering questions in their own words. Here’s our story on the council candidates who filed on the first day of eligibility.

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Getty Images/iStockphoto

Who gave to their campaigns

Here’s our story on donations, with a database of campaign contributions that reporter Hayley Harding is updating regularly until Election Day. Her’e’s our October story on the two mayoral candidates who have left the others in the dust in fundraising. Here’s our October story on political action committees, or PACs, spending to influence how you vote.

What they said in candidate forums

Here’s a video of the mayoral candidates meeting in October with the Idaho Statesman’s editorial board. (Be forewarned: It’s long.) Here’s our story about council candidates at a Boise Young Professionals forum, another story we did about mayoral candidates at a Conservation Voters for Idaho forum (and our live blog from that forum), our story about the mayoral candidates sparring at the Library at Hillcrest, and our fun story quoting the mayoral and City Council candidates in 10- and 30-second answers (and being cut short).

Library, stadium ballot measures

Here’s our in-depth story about the two proposed ordinances — two ballot measures that are long, legalistic and easy to misunderstand.

For more background, here’s our July story on Bieter’s campaign spending money to oppose the library ordinace, and our August story on Bieter postponing the library. Here’s our July story on the stadium developer meeting privately with the Greater Boise Auditorium District board. Here’s our September story on what the inside of the library would look like. Here’s our April story on the lead architect lacking an Idaho license.

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A view of the library space from a walkway above one of the entrances to the Salt Lake City Public Library. Salt Lake City’s main library was designed by Moshe Safdie, the same architect hired to design Boise’s proposed new main library, and the two designs have similarities. Hayley Harding

The city of Boise has prepared its own voter guide with arguments for and against the measures — a useful and authoritative resource. Exercise care, however, when relying on the city’s printed voter guide that was mailed citywide; you might want to read our story on a mistake it made about the library measure.

Property taxes, other issues

Here’s our August story on Ada County seniors struggling with high property taxes. Here’s our October story on a letter from a landlord to a tenant saying who the landlord is voting for, raising a question about when a letter expressing opinion crosses the line into possible intimidation.

Meridian

Here’s our February story on Mayor Tammy de Weerd’s chief of staff, Robert Simison, and City Council member Anne Little Roberts preparing to run to succeed her. Here’s our May story on Joe Palmer, a state legislator and opponent of de Weerd, running too.

Here’s our initial story on the candidates who filed in time to run, and our deeper look at the candidates, with biographical and other information. Here are our Voter Guide with candidates answering questions in their own words.

Mayor Meridian Voter Guide 2019
Joe Palmer, Anne Little Roberts, Shaun Wardle, Robert Simison, and Gina Johnson are running to be Meridian’s next mayor.

Mayor: Meet the candidates

The Idaho Statesman profiled the four most prominent mayoral candidates:

Robert Simison, chief of staff to outgoing Mayor Tammy de Weerd. Here’s his 1-minute elevator-pitch video.

Joe Palmer, state legislator. Here’s his 1-minute elevator-pitch video.

Anne Little Roberts, a City Council member. Here’s her 1-minute elevator-pitch video.

Shaun Wardle, who built up Idaho Athletic Club. Here’s his 1-minute elevator-pitch video.

The fifth candidate is Meridian resident Gina Johnson. Here’s her 1-minute elevator-pitch video.

Eagle

Here’s our story on the mayoral and City Council candidates. Here are our Voter Guides on the mayoral race and the City Council races with candidates answering questions in their own words.

Eagle mayoral candidates
Jason Pierce, Stan Ridgeway and Christopher Hadden are running for mayor in Eagle.

Here’s our May story on residents angry about growth, and our deep October story on the mayoral candidates’ differing views of Eagle’s future, including the Avimor planned community being developed north of the city. Hear are our November stories about how Eagle leaders lost track of a small water firm, then started a big fight over its fate; and about the ‘big money’ at play in Eagle’s election as Avimor owners and others seek to oust the mayor.

Watch these one-minute (roughly) elevator pitches from incumbent Mayor Stan Ridgeway and challengers Jason Pierce and Christopher Hadden.

Could there be a runoff?

Possibly. The Ada County Clerk’s Office is preparing for one in Eagle’s mayoral race. Here’s our story.

Garden City

Here is our Voter Guide with City Council candidates answering questions in their own words. And here’s our story on a California neo-Nazi running for seat on Garden City council.

Kuna

Here’s our story on the candidates running for mayor and City Council. Here is our Voter Guide with candidates answering questions in their own words.

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The Ada County Clerk's Office has posted this sample ballot combining all the Nov. 5, 2019, local elections in the county into one document. Find it at https://adacounty.id.gov/elections/view-my-ballot/

Star

Chad Bell and Trevor Chadwick are running for mayor, and two council seats are on the ballot. Here’s our Voter Guide with candidates answering questions in their own words.

The Star Fire Protection District is asking voters to approve a $4 million general obligation bond to relocate and expand Fire Station 1. Here’s the district’s case.

West Ada School District

West Ada School District has three trustees up for election, but only one race is contested, pitting Amy Johnson against incumbent Mike Vuittonet. Here’s a Ballotpedia News story on the contest. Here’s the Idaho Press’ Voter Guide with candidates answering questions in their own words.

CANYON COUNTY

Caldwell

Here’s our September story on the candidates running for the Caldwell City Council. Here is our Voter Guide with candidates answering questions in their own words.

Here’s our September story on John McGee, the former state senator who resigned in 2012 after accusations that he propositioned a female staffer, running for a council seat.

Nampa

Here’s our story on the candidates running for the Nampa City Council. Here are our Voter Guide with candidates answering questions in their own words.

Nampa School District voters are being asked to approve a $12 million per year supplemental levy. Here’s an Idaho Press story.

Middleton

Here is our Voter Guide with candidates answering questions in their own words.

STATESMAN COMMENTARY

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Idaho Statesman editorial board endorsements, from left, Lauren McLean for Boise mayor; Robert Simison (top) for Meridian mayor; Stan Ridgeway (bottom) for Eagle mayor; and Patrick Bageant, Meredith Stead and Brady Fuller for Boise City Council.

Editorials reflecting the views of the Statesman’s editorial board, and columns by Opinion Editor Scott McIntosh:

Statesman endorses Lauren McLean for Boise mayor

Statesman endorses Robert Simison for Meridian mayor

Statesman endorses Eagle Mayor Stan Ridgeway for re-election

Boise propositions would send strong message to City Hall, but language is troubling

Statesman endorses Bageant, Stead, Fuller for Boise City Council

McIntosh: Forgive Brent Coles and John McGee? Yes, but that doesn’t mean they should get back into office

AND ONE MORE THING ...

Here’s a link to Ada County’s sample ballot that covers everything in Ada County, in your city and others.

NOW YOU’RE READY TO VOTE!

And get one of these:

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Poll workers like to give out “I Voted” stickers. Gerry Melendez
Related stories from Idaho Statesman

David Staats is business editor of the Idaho Statesman, which he joined in 2004. He has assigned, edited and reported business, politics, government and other Idaho stories since 2006.Get the top Idaho business stories of the week in a free email every Monday morning. Go here, then press the “Select” button under Idaho Business.
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