Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Sheriff election is BCSO vs. Hailey PD

Express Staff Writer

Proof positive, Jenny Femling, right, wife of Republican incumbent Sheriff Walt Femling and Democratic challenger Hailey Police Department Lt. Jeff Gunter review ballots for Tuesday?s general election. Blaine County clerk, auditor and recorder Marsha Reimann, left, and Chief Deputy Clerk Joanna Ehrmantraut assisted with the ballot check. The meeting helped to confirm that a mistake made during the tally of votes after a mock election held at Wood River High School earlier in the month would not be repeated during the Nov. 2 general election. After the mock election the candidates? totals were inadvertently switched because the ballots had not been properly proofed, Reimann said. The order candidates? names appear on ballot sheets change with different jurisdictions to give each candidate an equal chance to be at the top of the ballot list. ?They look good,? Femling said. ?I have no problems with it,? Gunter added. Photo by Willy Cook

After easily beating his challenger in the Republican primary in May, Blaine County Sheriff Walt Femling faces a stiffer race in the general election Nov. 2 against Hailey Police Lt. Jeff Gunter, a Democrat.

During the Republican primary, Femling won in all 15 Blaine County voting districts. But now the sheriff race now pits a Republican against a Democrat, although the real race appears to be between the Sheriff?s Office and the Hailey Police Department.

One question that has arisen is why there is an apparent lack of cooperation between the Sheriff?s Office and the Hailey Police Department.

On Monday, Femling mailed out 14,000 campaign leaflets to Blaine County residents and Gunter raised an election banner over Main Street in Hailey. Gunter has taken the rest of the week off to campaign and Femling will be riding in a campaign motor home today with state Rep. Tim Ridinger, R-Shoshone.

Meanwhile, as voters prepare to head to the polls Tuesday, they will have a chance to pepper the two sheriff candidates with questions at a ?Pizza and Politics? election forum, sponsored by the Idaho Mountain Express, this evening at 6 p.m. at the Old Blaine County Courthouse.

Other issues to be debated are solutions to county jail and consolidated dispatch needs, staff training goals, approaches to dealing with traffic, injury accidents, drug and violent crime, and protocols for investigating police-involved shootings.

To register to vote

If you missed the Oct. 8 voter registration deadline, it is not too late, but you?ll have to take an additional step that those who registered early skipped.

You can go to the polls on Nov. 2 to register, but you?ll have to take a photo identification card and a document that establishes proof of your residence. That could be a bank statement, power bill or lease?anything with your address on it. If you?re a student, a valid student identification card accompanied with a current student fee statement that includes a valid address will also suffice.

Voters can also continue to register on any given weekday leading up to the election, given that they choose to vote by absentee ballot. The same rules apply. You do not need an excuse to vote absentee.

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