Guest Opinions

What is on the ballot (and what’s not): an Ada County voters guide to the Tuesday election

An election is coming up Tuesday. Voters can expect some high-profile, competitive races, including mayor and city council, and, in Boise, questions regarding citizen initiatives on the construction of a library and stadium on the ballot. We want to you to be prepared ahead of Election Day and answer some of the most common questions about what may (and may not) appear on your ballot.

Mayor and city council races. Mayoral races are on the ballot in November in the cities of Boise, Eagle, Kuna, Meridian and Star. The notable exception is Garden City, whose mayoral term runs on a different calendar. The next time you will see the mayor on the ballot for Garden City will be 2021.

City council positions are on the ballot in every city within Ada County. In Boise city and Meridian city, council seats 1, 3 and 5 are up for election. In Eagle, Garden City and Kuna, two council seats are on the ballot; residents will be prompted to vote for two. In Star, there are contested races for council seats 1 and 2.

City boundary caveat. Depending on where you live, some residents may be surprised to find that the mayor and council races do not appear on their ballot on Election Day, even though their mailing address would indicate that they live within that city. Although we all have a general sense of where one city starts and another ends, actual boundaries are not that simple. Many people outside of city limits identify themselves with a city, even though they don’t pay city taxes and ultimately don’t vote in city elections. The same can be true within a city, too. Pockets of unannexed areas exist within many of our cities.

Find out what you will be voting on before you head to the polls by visiting the “View My Ballot” page on the Ada County Elections website, adacountyelections.com.

School districts. This is the first year where school district trustees are sharing the November ballot with traditional city elections. This was a move by the Legislature to improve turnout.

West Ada School District has three trustee positions up for election this term; Zones 2, 4 and 5. However, only West Ada Zone 2 is contested this election and will appear on the ballot.

Kuna Joint School District trustees for Zones 1 A, 2 A, and 5 B are uncontested, so they will not appear on the ballot.

Boise School District is conspicuously not on the ballot this November. It was established by charter around 1863, prior to Idaho statehood. As a result, Boise School District conducts its trustee elections in September of even-numbered years as prescribed in its charter, which supersedes statute.

Initiatives. The initiatives concerning construction of a Boise library and stadium have garnered a lot of attention in recent months. In April, citizen groups gathered a sufficient number of signatures to place a question for each on the ballot.

So what will voting on the initiatives do? The initiative questions will appear on the ballot as proposition 1 for the library and proposition 2 for the sports stadium. They are asking whether a city ordinance, as defined in the initiatives, should be adopted to require a future vote on library or stadium projects that meet certain criteria. This is not a vote asking if voters approve of a library or stadium project at this time.

The initiatives are for those within Boise city limits only and will not appear on other city ballots or in unincorporated areas. You may preview what’s going to be on your ballot ahead of the election by visiting the “View My Ballot” page on the Ada County Elections website, adacountyelections.com.

Other items on the ballot. Local taxing district races and questions will appear on the ballot of voters living within the respective taxing district’s boundaries. Only contested races will appear on the ballot.

Local taxing districts. Fire district commissioner races include Eagle Fire District 2 A, B & G, Kuna Fire District 1A, North Ada County Fire District 2 and Star Fire District 2 B. Western Ada Recreation District has a race for District 3.

Additionally, voters in the Star Fire Protection District will be asked to weigh in on a general obligation bond for up to $4 million.

Register online and vote early. The Nov. 5 election undoubtedly will generate a lot of interest and turnout. The Boise city and Meridian mayoral races each have a number of candidates, and they are expected to be competitive. In Boise city and Eagle city, there is a potential for a runoff election in December, if one candidate does not receive more than 50% of the votes on election night.

You may check to see if you are registered to vote at your current address ahead of Election Day by visiting IdahoVotes.gov. Voter registration is available at your polling place or at any of our early voting locations. You can avoid Election Day lines by voting early at one of our early voting locations in Meridian and Boise. To find more election information, including what will be on your ballot and the schedule and locations for early voting, please visit our website at adacountyelections.com.

Carattini is communications specialist for Ada County, and McGrane is Ada County Clerk.
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