This election is different: Why the Secretary of State says he's never seen anything like it

Money, population growth and redistricting create an unusual election
Posted at 4:53 PM, Nov 06, 2023

BOISE — Tuesday's election is probably bigger than you think.

There may not be statewide issues, but after years of tension in school board meetings over things like book bans, and changes in districting that affect city council positions, these races may be more highly charged than usual.

Throw in a big influx of money for mayoral races, and this is not your typical off year election. And even Secretary of State Phil McGrane says this election is unusual.
"It is. You know, it's been interesting as the Treasure Valley grows and more and more people are moving in we're just seeing more political activity," explains McGrane.

That means things like money, especially in the Boise mayoral race, are surpassing anything ever seen before.

"The amount of money both the mayor and her challenger have raised is significant," says McGrane, "So I think this will be one of the big drivers for the election specifically in the Boise area but we're seeing it in some of the other cities too whether its Meridian or others just there's so much more money engaged in politics than what we would have seen five six ten years ago."

Another big change is the rules regarding districting in cities larger than 100 thousand.

"All the voters will be represented by a specific member on city council a specific to their area and that is something that's new for this cycle."

That applies to Nampa, Meridian and Boise.

And McGrane says all the elected positions have a big impact on your day to day.

"Local elections really are the ones that impact us directly," says McGrane, "Whether your local mayor or your city council or your highway district commissioners ... these are the people making decisions that directly impact us."

Given that, as well as the amount of money being spent and the increase in population, McGrane says he's expecting a high turnout this election.