McGrane: the state’s electoral system is healthy
Looking at the duties of the Idaho Secretary of State, it’s amazing that someone wants the job – especially someone like Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane, who says he “likes” what he does.
The secretary’s job description is far from glamorous. Duties include registering business entities, filing privileges under the Uniform Commercial Code, and registering âtrademarks and service marksâ within the state.
There is more.
âThe secretary is the keeper of the Great Seal of Idaho and, as such, is responsible for licensing notaries, as well as authenticating documents and issuing apostilles.
It doesn’t matter what that means.
Then there is the publication of the Blue Book of Idaho (a certain remedy for insomnia), the administration of a register of “wills” and let’s not forget to be “an ex officio member of the Idaho Code Commission â.
Oh, there’s another chore – and one that puts McGrane and two other strong Republican candidates (Under Secretary Chad Houck and Senator Mary Souza de Coeur d’Alene) in the race. The Secretary of State is overseeing elections in Idaho, which is emerging as a prominent post in the days of Donald Trump and allegations of improprieties in last year’s presidential election. Idaho wasn’t so much in the limelight as Trump won easily. But electoral integrity is a priority for Idahoans.
McGrane, who describes himself as an “election junkie,” served as Ada County Chief Electoral Officer for three years as a clerk – and longer than that on voter turnout.
âMy passion for elections started in 2005 by counting punch cards and recruiting election officials,â he says on his campaign website. “Since then, I have worked as a paralegal with the United States Election Assistance Commission and have been involved in all aspects of election management in Ada County.”
As a county clerk, he’s also the ‘court guy’ for lawyers and judges and the ‘budget guy’ for county commissioners, so multitasking in the secretary of state’s office wouldn’t be a big deal. good transition. He already has a working relationship with county clerks on elections, running a training program for clerks and staff. Being Secretary of State would allow him to increase that involvement – which is another reason to seek a career change.
First, he must defeat Houck and Souza, who are also vying to replace retired Secretary of State Lawerence Denney. Souza is sounding the alarm on the vulnerable nature of election security in Gem State. McGrane disagrees with that assessment, saying the Idaho election is as tight as people might expect.
âIdahoans have much to be proud of the way we run our elections,â he said. âIn Idaho we have good systems and good laws in place. “
Certainly, there are small irregularities that occur in almost every election. McGrane has isolated cases of people trying to vote in two counties, or occasional voters from other states voting in Idaho. One of the biggest issues McGrane has seen is criminals trying to vote.
They don’t get away with it – at least not for long, and that’s because Idaho has sophisticated communication channels aimed at stopping fraud. âWe grab these things and go on,â McGrane says. âI am the only candidate (in this race) to have been actively involved in cases of electoral fraud. We take it very seriously. Having a Secretary of State who was involved in this experience makes a difference. “
McGrane, a fourth generation Idahoan (roots in Pocatello) is no stranger to the state’s political scene. He unsuccessfully ran for office in 2014 against Denney, and he’s familiar with county officials statewide. He is well known to lawmakers and the media for his involvement in electoral matters.
There is no doubt that McGrane is qualified for the job. The outcome may depend on what Idaho residents think about election security in general – and who is best equipped to ensure the integrity of Idaho’s voting system.
Chuck Malloy is a longtime journalist and columnist from Idaho. He can be contacted at [email protected]