Posted by Charles Rehberg on Aug 06, 2018
North Notes
Spokane North Rotary Club Bulletin
August 6, 2018            
            Our new schedule: President Lenore Romney reminds that our next gathering is “Rotary Connect,” starting at 4:30 p.m., Monday, Aug.13, at Maryhill Winery Tasting Room, 1203 W. Summit Parkway (just east of Nectar).  The next luncheon meeting is noon, Aug. 20 at Nectar in Kendall Yards.
            This month’s service project, Aug. 27 at noon, is filling the Holmes Elementary supply closet as boxes of pens, pencils, tissues, notebooks and other items are placed for use during the school year.  Holmes is located at 2600 W. Sharp.
            Welcome!: Ron Noble, who has moved from the Colville Club, has applied to join Spokane-North Rotary.
            Fore!: Dave Hayward will coordinate organizing a club team for the Deer Park Rotary Club on Saturday, Sept. 22.
            A day for everything: Sgt.-at-Arms Eric Johnson stumped a table with the national day for Aug.6.  It was “wiggle your toes day!” 
            Warning for possible computer glitches
            Spokane County Auditor, whose job includes administering Recording, Financial Services, Motor Vehicle Licensing and Election Divisions, said major Spokane County computer changes are scheduled Sept. 3 – Labor Day.
            Dalton said, “We usually get license tabs back in two days, but over that weekend all systems will be down and rebooted.”  She encouraged folks to take care of things ahead of the Labor Day weekend such as renewing tabs and driver’s licenses, voter registration and other similar records.
Election process detailed 
            On the eve of the primary election, Spokane Auditor Vicky Dalton fielded an array of questions and added fascinating items for the club luncheon Aug. 6.
            Dalton said August primary elections were forced by calendar pressures.  September dates were moved earlier to accommodate mailing of ballots to military, travelers and business people overseas, and even recounts and law suits that arise and need to be resolved before the general election.  Dalton said she would prefer the Idaho calendar, with primaries in May and general elections in November.  However, when regular sessions of the Legislature are in session, the senators and representative cannot fund-raise, so May is too early for the primary.
            She said “we lost a few percentage points on turnout because of the summer primaries.”
            Turnout this year is higher than expected.  Dalton said “if we get 33 percent for a primary we would be thrilled, but this year it may hit 40 percent.”  She said the pre-paid postage has raised turnout.
            When King County decided to use pre-paid postage, others joined in.  She said ballots cost 55 cents in Spokane, but up to $1.17 in other counties.  Some, like Ferry County, just use regular stamps, but that may cost more because all ballots must be stamped.
            Dalton said in previous elections, paid ballots and dropped ballots in the white boxes were 50-50, but this time it looks like 70 percent are pre-paid and 30 percent are placed in the white boxes.
            Ballots, by the way, must be printed in North Carolina because there is no suitable paper in the Western states, Dalton said.
            She said she has had a number of reasons for replacement ballots, from “the dog ate it, the cat ate it, and the cat did something else on the ballot” that she wouldn’t detail in public.  One voter used images of lady bugs with legs on the ballot.   Her favorite was a ballot with a burn hole over one issue.  Apparently a smoker dropped his ashes onto the ballot and neatly circled through the ballot.  (The rest of her ballot was counted, she said.)
            What some voters may not know is that those voting early in the primary season are removed from call lists.  As Dalton said, the fact of voting is a public record, but not who someone voted for.  She showed how members could review their public voter information from a website, and to see if their ballot has been received by Spokane County.
            Dalton said Democrats tend to vote in the early days when ballots are sent out.  Republicans tend to vote near the deadline.
            She was asked if electronic ballots from cellphones or personal computers were likely soon.  “Baby Boomers will not see it in their lifetimes,” Dalton said.
            She said, despite expanded safeguards and computer protections, hackers, such as Russia, North Korea and China, still “scare us to death.”
            Asked about verifying signatures on ballots, Dalton said officials can determine if spouses had switched the yellow envelope with the signed letter on the white envelope.  Millennial voters often have difficulty with written signatures, she said.  At a recent Hillyard Festival, some said three ballots were rejected for illegible signatures.  Asked if they are under 26, the response was “yep.”
            When asked about “the old days, with white-haired poll workers at the school,” Dalton said “schools don’t even want us in there,” with lock-downs, parents squabbling about students who might be involved in restraining order issues, and the like.
            Cost-by-mail is cheaper and works better, she said.
            Dalton added that the first Friday after the vote deadline is “election day for us.”  “Tuesday results are meaningless, she said.
            Dalton, a Priest River, Idaho native, has been County Auditor since 1999 and she is unopposed on the ballot for the first time this year.  
Bulletin editors: Chuck Rehberg,  Sandy Fink, Eric Johnson
Photos: Sandy Fink and Eric Johnson