Writings and observations

A bogus run

Among the advantages of the Oregon system of voting by mail is the disadvantage that system places on one of the least welcome invaders of modern elections: The last-minute ad.

When the votes are being cast over a spread of more than two weeks, you can’t easily manipulate the results through engineering a last-minute panic attack over (most commonly these days) the radio. Since the voting is spread out, you’re only likely to influence a small sliver of people; and even that sliver is reduced by the number of voters who, having heard a serious allegation, actually have the time and ability to check it out before voting. Instead, getting serious information out there tends to work better.

Like most states, Idaho isn’t in that position, and so attack ads like the one aimed at a new Boise schools bond issue could have some effect. In this case, maybe not as much as its backers hoped, since the election is a couple of weeks off and the ad already has been airing – meaning that by the time most people vote, many of its charges may already be adequately refuted.

This isn’t an endorsement of either side of the bond campaign. The Boise School District is asking for $94 million, which is a lot of money, and the voters ought to have a full and careful accounting from a district that has some history of obfuscation.

But the proposal is no new topic, and voters would be well advised to beware of most anything they hear in the final days before the election. Goes for other kinds of electi0ns, too, as the people of Boise have ample reason to know.

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