Idaho Secretary of State

State of Idaho

Next May's Republican primary for Idaho secretary of state could get a little more crowded, now that Ben Ysursa has opted against seeking a fourth term in 2014.

Former state Sen. Mitch Toryanski of Boise said Monday he's filing official paperwork, to allow him to begin fundraising and tour Idaho.

Already, Rep. Lawerence Denney, a former House speaker from Midvale, says he wants to be the state's top election official.

Toryanski said his listening tour, to gauge sentiment among GOP voters, will start Nov. 18, but the itinerary is still being worked out.

Ben Ysursa
Courtesy of Idaho Secretary of State's office

Longtime Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa says he has decided not to seek a fourth term in office.  

The veteran Republican announced his plans to step away from office Friday.

Ysursa says he thought long and hard about his future, but ultimately decided to step away from public office when his term expires in January 2015.

Ysursa is 64 years old and he has worked in the office for 40 years.

Lawerence Denney
Boise State Public Radio

Republican state Rep. Lawerence Denney announced his run for secretary of state, even as incumbent Ben Ysursa remains undecided whether to seek a fourth term.

At an event in the Idaho Capitol in Boise, Denney on Thursday pledged to pursue election fraud allegations and said he'd work against the Idaho Department of Land's push to expand into commercial real estate where it competes with private business.

Cenarrusa, funeral
Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

Hundreds of relatives, friends and supporters are honoring the life of Idaho political legend Pete Cenarrusa at his funeral in Boise.

Secretary of State Ben Ysursa delivered the eulogy for his mentor Friday, telling about 600 people gathered at a downtown Boise cathedral that Cenarrusa lived by the golden rule: He loved his family, country and ancestral home.

Boise State University, Albertsons Library

The body of Pete Cenarrusa will lie in state at Idaho’s capitol building Thursday from noon to 7:00 p.m. Cenarrusa, who held state office in Idaho uninterrupted for more than five decades, died Sunday at age 95 with his wife Freda at his side.

Cenarrusa served nine terms in Idaho’s House of Representatives, including three terms as Speaker. He served as Idaho’s Secretary of State from 1967 to 2003. He was also well known for his work to preserve Basque history and culture in Idaho.

Pete Cenarrusa, a Basque-American who held state office in Idaho uninterrupted for more than five decades, has died. He was 95.

Cenarrusa died about noon on Sunday at his home in Boise after a battle with lung cancer, said Roy Eiguren, president of the Cenarrusa Foundation for Basque Culture.

Cenarrusa's wife of 66 years, Freda, was at his side.

Cenarrusa was elected to the Idaho House of Representatives in 1950 and served nine terms, including three terms as Speaker. Governor Don Samuelson appointed him Idaho Secretary of State in 1967.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

If you haven’t taken advantage of absentee or early in person voting, today’s the big day.  It’s time to get out to the polls and vote.  Here's what you’ll need for a smooth voting experience.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

There’s a definite trend with voter turnout in Idaho.  Primaries bring out fewer people. General Elections bring out more. And Presidential years attract the most voters. This year should be no exception.

There were more than 750,000 registered voters in Idaho during this year’s May primary.  But a vast majority of those stayed home.  

Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa says that’s pretty typical. “The primary turnout, and this one was abysmal, the last one we had, but the primary turnouts are in the mid-20’s to 30 percent of registered voters.” 

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Ada County’s Chief Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane describes the upcoming November election this way, “It’s a nice, clean, old-fashioned election.”

He says it will be a big change from the May Primary. “Don’t have to pick a party, don’t have to pick a ballot, no other selections that you have to make.”

Secretary of State

Even though it’s several weeks away, voting officials are gearing up for the November 6 election.  Today  marks the last day for county clerks to print absentee ballots.  Soon, they’ll be in the mail for anyone who wants to vote early. 

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Close to three hundred people are vying for a chance to sit in the Idaho Legislature next year.  Tomorrow’s  primaries will pit party members against each other for the chance to compete in the general election in November.  Gary Moncrief is watching the races closely.  The political science professor with Boise State says redistricting is the reason behind the large candidate turnout.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

So you’re planning to vote in a Primary on Tuesday.  Here’s what you need to know: 

DonkeyHotey / Flickr

When you vote in the primary next Tuesday, you must, for the first time, register for a political party.  That’s after the Idaho Republican Party sued the state for the right to close its primary.  The GOP argued party faithful, not crossover Democrats, should pick Republican candidates.