A discussion on “Election Integrity: How elections are run at the local level.”

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Alyssa Smith

Lewis-Clark State hosted the 5th annual Moore Lecture Series. The lecture is sponsored by the college’s Social Sciences Division.

The presenters for this lecture are Darla McKay, the auditor in Asotin County, Washington and Patty Weeks, the auditor in Nez Perce County, Idaho. Both have an esteemed career and accomplishments over the years.

The lecture was both in person in Sacajawea Hall, or through zoom. The focus of this lecture is to provide a behind the scenes peek into the voter verification process.

It is important to recognize that voting can only happen because of volunteers–they are especially essential in smaller, local elections.

If you have voted before locally you have most likely been helped by a volunteer.

Patty Weeks was the first speaker of the lecture, who discussed the demographics of the Idaho voters. She stated that 81.75% of voters turned out for the 2020 elections.

Out of 880,000 ballots that were cast in the state of Idaho, only 14 or 15 reports were potential fraud. Weeks discussed how to register to vote. You can register any time prior to 25 days before the election. If you have a name or address change you must re register to vote. You can visit your state’s official voting website to find out more information and register.

She next shared the different protection methods to prevent voter fraud in Idaho. Important documents like driver’s license and Social Security card are two methods to verify a voter’s identity.

The Idaho voting system also has access to the Voter Registration System and shares changed with other states to prevent voting fraud. Absentee voting is important to know as college students, as most are not in their voting district.

In Idaho it is a yearly request that you can send online, email, mail, or in-person. For an annual request you must include your information and which election you are wanting to vote in. With an Absentee ballot you can mail it, drop it off in person, or in a drop box.

Darla McKay was up next. It was very interesting and valuable to have both presenters in this lecture since we are so close to Washington and have many students from Washington state.
She showed the Washington state voting system. There are many steps that are similar to Idaho’s method of processing the votes, but the main difference is mailing.

Washington moved to all mail ballots in 2005 which means that there are no voting locations, but still volunteers collect the ballots. McKay ended her section of the lecture sharing that the older generations are the majority of the voters.

Traditional college aged students are the largest age group in the United States, but the majority of
that age group does not turn out for elections.

“If all the 18-29 year olds in the country voted, they would decide elections. Make your voice heard.”

According to the United States Census Bureau 76% of voters in the 2020 Presidential election were ages 65 to 74, compared to 51% for 18-24 year olds. Despite 18-24 year olds making up a large majority of the population, the voting population is dominated by older generations.

Professor Leif Hoffman kicked off the lecture with a land agreement with the Nez Perce Tribe, introduced the event, and the speakers.

Next, the creation of the voting system way back when the constitution was first written. Essentially,
each state is responsible for its own people and it breaks down to counties and districts.

The Moore Honorary Lecture honors Richard Moore, a former LC State political science professor. Moore was at LC State for twenty-seven years before retiring. He was a mentor, chair for the Faculty Senate and Faculty Association, the Social Sciences Division, and interim chair for the Nursing &
Health Sciences Division.

There were many in attendance in person, however if you missed it and are interested in watching the recording of the lecture you can email Leif Hoffman at [email protected] to kindly ask for the recording.