UPDATE: This article was updated to reflect a more accurate representation of the facts. Previously we stated that the verbiage of the resolution was not presented to the committee members when in fact, it was handed to them just before discussion began.
On May 4, 2022, the Twin Falls Republican Central Committee held a special meeting to discuss the idea of poll watchers and poll challengers. These two positions are crucial to guarantee the integrity of our electoral process in the United States. Poll watchers are appointed by a candidate. They may take notes as voters enter the polling station and cast their votes, however, they may not speak to any voters, and may not file any challenges with the presiding election judge at that precinct. Poll challengers are appointed by the local central committee. They may challenge votes by bringing their concerns to the precinct’s presiding election judge who will make a determination on whether to take further action. Each precinct is assigned one watcher, and one challenger.
The stated reason for calling a special meeting was that the deadline for submitting names to the county clerk for those positions was the close of business on May 7, 2022. According to Chairman Steve Millington, this coming date, which the central committee was well aware of in advance, justified an emergency, last-minute meeting. Members assembled expecting to have a discussion about poll watchers and challengers. Upon starting the meeting, one member immediately made a motion to consider a resolution, even though it was nowhere to be found on the agenda. This motion came as a surprise to those in attendance, but all members approved consideration of the resolution unanimously. A discussion was opened up, and the Chairman Millington called on the county clerk, Kristina Glascock, to speak.
Ms. Glascock spoke about the difference between poll watchers and poll challengers, and how each is appointed. She also spoke about watching ballot counting at the elections office on election night, as well as answering various other questions related to election integrity. After the presentation by the clerk, the pro and con sides of the resolution, which wasn’t sent to the committee members ahead of time, nor was it viewable during the meeting, were each given one minute to speak in two rounds of discussion.
The resolution stated that poll challengers should be appointed by the party and not by candidates. It also stated that poll challengers would be better suited for a general election, and not for a primary. Some members thought poll challengers should be employed during a primary election, whereas others disagreed. The latter group was concerned that if one candidate were able to present a list of poll challengers for every precinct and have that list approved by a vote of the committee, then it would give the impression that the committee was taking sides in a primary (a nonsensical point, to be sure).
A vote was taken and the resolution was passed unanimously. Many members who voted yes seemed to be under the impression that the resolution was simply reiterating what the statute already stated: that Republican party central committees appoint poll challengers. However, after the resolution was approved, the members on the side of appointing poll challengers for the May 17 primary election were shocked when the next action by the Chairman was to call for a motion to adjourn, and the meeting abruptly ended.
Members who were both for and against the resolution were equally flummoxed, as they believed there was to be additional discussion after the vote. Members were later informed that the outcome of the resolution vote dictated whether further discussion about poll challengers was to occur. A yes vote meant there would be no subsequent discussion, and a no vote meant the opposite. Rather than inquire as to whether any members wanted to be poll challengers, the discussion was squelched preemptively by the resolution.
None of this was discussed prior to the vote, and, to reiterate, the resolution verbiage itself was not presented to the committee members ahead of the meeting. One can only speculate as to why a Republican central committee Chairman Steven Millington would want to dishonestly present such a resolution to the members of the committee. Could it have something to do with the fact that there are 19 liberty-minded candidates running against sitting precinct committee members in the Magic Valley? Could it be something more nefarious regarding statewide elections?
If you were not aware, candidate for Lieutenant Governor Priscilla Giddings filed a lawsuit in Boise against the Idaho Secretary of State and several county clerks, alleging that they had caused “irreparable electoral damage” by restricting poll watchers. You can read that story here. It seems highly suspicious that such a lawsuit, which was filed on May 6, 2022, would happen so close to the occurrence of these nefarious actions taken by the chairman of the Twin Falls Republican central committee and have nothing to do with it.
A Message from Kathy Thomsen, Election Integrity Idaho
It started out in February 2022 as a robust bill for election integrity. Sponsored by Rep Dorothy Moon, the bill required valid voter ID (no more Costco cards), proof of citizenship (no more green cards), removed same day registration and lengthened election data retention. Eventually the bill passed the House and was sent to the Senate. The Senate where all good bills go to die. Stuck in a drawer, it never saw the light of day.
On May 12, Chad Houck, Chief Deputy of the Secretary of State denied Boise County Commissioner Holmes access to view signature verification of absentee ballots.
In the early weeks of April, Rep Priscilla Giddings assembled and trained over 180 Poll Watchers representing counties statewide. All candidates benefit from the presence of Poll Watchers who serve as a deterrence to any overt actions which may fail to align to Idaho Elections Code or Secretary of State Directives.
Statewide, several Clerks responded by denying Poll Watchers: 1) access to observe signature verification of absentee ballots, 2) access to the Tabulation Room at Central Count the night of May 17th. Additionally, they refused to allow Poll Watchers to challenge voters.
In Twin Falls, this position was in direct opposition to Clerk Glascock’s February 2022 Poll Watcher instructions which stated, “You have the right to challenge the eligibility of voters if you have a reasonable cause to believe that they are not qualified electors. If you challenge a voter, direct your concern to the polling place’s Chief Judge – not the voter.”
Instead, by April, the Poll Watchers in many Idaho counties, including Twin Falls, were summarily stripped of their ability to challenge and allowed only to sit mutely and make notes. Additionally, cell phones and laptops were no longer allowed – or electronics of any kind.
As a consequence, Rep Giddings filed a Writ of Mandamus which was heard in the Ada County District Court on May 12. Her suit attempting to allow Poll Watchers to challenge electors and have access to absentee ballot signature verification was dismissed on the grounds that it should have been filed as a declaratory judgement with an injunction instead of a writ of mandamus. What remained unaddressed by the courts is Idaho Code’s fuzzy definition of Poll Watchers and Poll Challengers and their respective job descriptions. This issue will be a source of contention in the November election as well.
However, Idaho Code does clearly state that Poll Watchers are named by the candidates whereas Poll Challengers are named by the Party.
In an effort to at least re-classify Giddings Poll Watchers as Challengers for Election Day on May 17th and thereby obtain the right to challenge voters, signature verification and final count, all names were resubmitted within the required 12-day qualification period to the GOP Party Chair.
In Twin Falls the GOP Central Committee Chair is Steve Millington. After appearing to go through the motions of obtaining the necessary information (name, address, voter ID#, shifts etc.) in order to grant Poll Challenger status, Millington instead called for a Special Meeting of the GOP Central Committee to discuss an “Election Integrity Resolution”.
This May 4 meeting was highly orchestrated by the Chair and his select committeemen. Apparently as soon as the RINO contingent found out that America First candidate Giddings had asked for Poll Challengers to be placed in polling places throughout the county, they hatched a plan to thwart her efforts on the grounds that Party appointed challengers are “neutral and fair” and candidate-approved challengers are “contentious and biased”. Accordingly, no Poll Challengers should be named for the Primary Election (as the Party is ostensibly running against itself), but only during the General Election. The resolution passed unanimously. All in the name of election integrity.
Clerk Glascock was invited to describe her “transparent” process of counting the ballots on election night.
In the interest of transparency, Election Integrity Idaho requested the Clerk:
1) turn the DS850 Tabulator 180* in order that the public could view the external operations of the machine as it sorted the ballots;
2) move the Remake Board table where Election Clerks adjudicated questionable ballots from across the room outside of public view to in front of the window through which the public views the Final Count process;
3) place video surveillance of the Drop Boxes online for public viewing 24/7
All requests were denied.
If our elections truly are the gold standard, would you not welcome public scrutiny in order to allay any fear that our elections are anything less than fair and accurate?
Would you not appreciate public oversight of the process, the voter rolls, the equipment that allows for your hard work to be vindicated?
Why would you dismiss the opportunity to learn about potential fraud such as that which took place in 3NOV2020 and was depicted in the documentary 2000 Mules with, “I have no desire to watch this.”
Is it any wonder that the citizens of Idaho no longer trust the election process?
Citizen Ninjas are needed more than ever
Will you demand justice for election integrity in Idaho? Will you defend the ballot box? Will you defy this blatant systematic dereliction of duty? Will you work with local patriots to decertify our vulnerable voting machines?
These dirty tricks will only stop when they know we are watching and are holding them accountable.
Interested in working locally to decertify the machines and return to hand counts? Text Kathy Thomsen, Idaho Election Integrity, at 208-734-5754 For statewide information, electionintegrityidaho.org has a link to the Telegram channel
Attend the next Twin Falls Republican Central Committee meeting on Wednesday, June 1st, Twin Falls County West Building, 630 Addison Ave. W., Panning & Zoning entrance (south side of building). 7 PM.
MVLA and Idaho Election Integrity will be there.