NewsMagic Valley


A school board race was decided by one vote, but voters given the wrong ballot will now have a chance to vote.

Posted at 5:54 PM, Nov 28, 2023

JEROME, Idaho — Valley School District's election for Board of Trustees in Zone 4 was decided by just one vote. But at least two voters were given the wrong ballot. An investigation showed several Valley residents' house numbers had not been included in voting rolls.

  • Jerome County became the first county in Idaho to request a judicial review, following a new law that allows county clerks to make requests.
  • Valley's Zone 5 also had several addresses missing from the roles, but that race was won by a larger margin. The Clerk, in consultation with the County Commission, County Prosecutor, and Idaho Secretary of State, determined that a re-do of this election would not change the outcome.
  • Early voting is taking place now at the Jerome County Courthouse. In-person voting for Valley School District Zone 45 is on Dec. 5 at the Valley School gymnasium.

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

Cy Lootens: “What we discovered was that some addresses with our election were mislabeled, so that means that some people received the wrong ballot”

Valley school district’s election for zone 4 trustee saw candidate Michael Lakey receive 48 votes, while Matthew Kimmel received 47.

But a clerical error had residents listed as living outside the zone boundaries,

Cy Lootens: “Our margin of victory with this race for valley school district zone 4 was within one vote, and we know two people received the wrong ballot. So, technically that could have changed the results depending on how those people might have voted,

Districts are re-drawn every ten years, and the is the first school board election since the zones were redrawn in 2022. The clerk’s office verifies addresses with the new changes, but something went wrong with a portion of valley voters, including 9 houses in zone 5 that were not recorded accurately.

Cy Lootens: “So with that zone 5 we had a section of our highway that got missed. And I don’t know if it was because of google maps messed it up or if it was just an error on our part, but we had a row of houses on that highway that were missed and were mislabeled, and so that’s where those 9 voters come from.”

Under a new law, counties are now able to request a judicial review of elections, and, after consultation with the county commission, the county prosecutor, and the Idaho secretary of state, Jerome county became the first county in Idaho to request judicial review.

Cy Lootens: “So I submitted that to our judicial system for judicial review. A judge reviewed it last week and decided that the election should be voided, so that we could do the election next week.”