Ada County voter turnout starts out low

ADA COUNTY, Idaho (KBOI) -- Voting in the Treasure Valley in underway and after visiting several voting stations in Ada County, turnout was low.

According to absentee ballots that came into the Ada County Elections office, turnout was expected to be greater in the foothills because one of the bonds being voted on directly affects resident there. After visiting several of those stations, I was told voter turnout was lower than last year, but a steady flow of voters were coming in and out.

That was unlike a couple of stations in other areas. At Whittier Elementary, I was told only 22 voters had shown up in the first hour and a half. If that station continues at that pace, it will have less than a quarter of voters that showed up last year.

Two bond proposals are the hot topic of the election this year.

The first is $15.5 million. If approved, it will preserve open spaces near the foothills and improve six parks in the area.

"The bond related to open spaces seems to be generating the most energy in terms of absentee ballots that have come in," said Phil McGrane, chief deputy clerk. "We have had a little high absentee turnout, which has been specific in that area."

The second bond on the ballot is nearly $17 million and will go toward making improvements to Boise fire stations and building a new fire training facility.

"This is really important to not only the fire department, but the city as a whole to improve our response time needs," said Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan.

If both bonds get approved, Boise taxes would increase by about $12 a year.

Three city council seats are also up for grabs, and in Canyon County, voters will choose the Caldwell and Nampa mayor.