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Idaho House to vote on bill requiring hand recounts of ballots during election audits

Election Day 2022
Otto Kitsinger
A Vote Here sign outside a polling place at the Hispanic Cultural Center in Nampa, Idaho on November 8, 2022. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)

Idaho Secretary of State Phil McGrane testifies in support of bill during public hearing

The first bill of 2023 session, which amends Idaho law related to election audits, is heading to the floor of the Idaho House of Representatives for a vote.

On Tuesday, the House State Affairs Committee voted to send House Bill 1 to the floor of the Idaho House with a recommendation it passes.

Rep. Julianne Young, R-Blackfoot, sponsored House Bill 1, which would require that ballots subject to an election audit would be counted by hand, not machines.

Idaho Secretary of State Phil McGrane testified in support of the bill during a public hearing in the committee on Tuesday. McGrane said the bill would simply write the current practices that were issued by directive of previous Secretary of State Lawerence Denney into state law.

“All of the audits were hand-counts in every location,” McGrane said.

Young’s bill amends an existing section of Idaho law that requires audits to take place following any primary or general election, including presidential primary elections.

Young’s bill adds new language to the existing law by specifying, “The postelection audit shall include, at a minimum, a hand recount of the ballots subject to the audit and a comparison to the results reported by the county for any precincts, days, batches, legislative districts and tabulation machines selected for audit.”

House Bill 1 could reach the House floor for a vote as early as this week, although legislators are not facing any strict deadlines at this point because the 2023 legislative session just began Jan 9.

The Idaho Capital Sun is a nonprofit news organization delivering accountability reporting on state government, politics and policy in the Gem state.