Brannon suit goes to the judge - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Brannon suit goes to the judge

Hosack says it could take him 1-2 weeks to decide fate of Kennedy’s city council seat

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Sunday, September 19, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 11:32 am, Fri Nov 16, 2012.

COEUR d'ALENE - Jim Brannon wants a new election for Seat 2 on the Coeur d'Alene City Council.

If one isn't ordered, the incumbent, Mike Kennedy, has enough votes to secure the narrow victory no matter which way evidence on three more illegal voters is ruled.

Kennedy won the Nov. 3 election by five votes.

But 1st District Judge Charles Hosack must decide whether some irregularities during Coeur d'Alene's Nov. 3 general election warrant a one-on-one runoff for the city council seat.

Both sides will have to wait. The judge said Saturday he might need a week or two to make his decision after the trial concluded.

"I've gotten used to the delays," Kennedy said following the six-day trial, the complaint for which was filed 10 months ago. "I'm confident the judge will do the right thing, in the right amount of time."

Saturday's closing arguments in the election challenge suit were recounts of positions both counsels had taken during the week.

Mainly, whether the number of absentee ballots the Kootenai County Elections Department tabulated after the polls closed and the City Council adopted as the final tally - 2,051 - is the accurate number of legal ballots received.

Brannon's attorney, Starr Kelso, said there is no document in evidence that verifies that total.

He pointed to printed-out 2009 absentee ballot reports run after the polls closed on Nov. 6, Nov. 16, Nov. 24 and one in August of this year that didn't reach that total. Those numbers varied, with 2,041 being the total on two of those reports.

Those reports are printed off of a real-time electronic database from the Secretary of State's Office, and is an always fluctuating report since it purges registered voter names who move, die or are convicted of a felony since the election.

That makes direct comparisons of absentee voter names and the 2,051 total imperfect, the defense said.

Deedie Beard, elections supervisor at the time of the election, testified during the week that the department kept daily absentee ballot reports, but didn't add those reports up. Those are still in storage with other documents, but weren't a part of the evidence.

Regardless, a report wasn't run immediately after the election as it should have been, Kelso said, and if one had been it could have clarified the dispute. The case isn't to deny the machines counted 2,051 absentee ballots, it's whether there's proof it counted 2,051 legal ones. Had that been the remedy sought, Brannon would have asked for a recount after the polls closed, which he didn't, Kelso said.

"It's just a number the machines counted," Kelso said.

But the absentee ballots were counted by Senior Magistrate Judge Eugene Marano, too, during a discovery request, in June and July. He counted 2,051.

Kootenai County elections officials testified during the trial that 17 of those ballots were "duplicates," meaning they couldn't be run through the machine at the time of count due to some sort of crease, rip or other defect. When that happens the machine stops, and elections staff have to copy the votes on a mint condition ballot to run through and count.

It does not mean their votes were duplicated or counted twice, Mike Haman, city attorney, explained in his closing comments, rather the original ballot had to be reproduced to be counted once.

That means that 17 total shouldn't be subtracted from the total as Kelso argued it should, Haman said.

Like much of the trial, the arguments centered about numbers on reports, and the different addition and subtraction formulas for absentee ballots and envelopes to use to best find the accurate count.

Kelso got the absentee ballots as low as 2,019, and never matched the exact number of ballots to envelopes. But defense attorneys counted 2,051 ballots and 2,050 envelopes. If one of the four undetermined envelopes was a city one and not county that could match up the envelopes, too.

More than 6,000 votes were cast.

"The Brannon team began digging and digging and digging to see what was the actual truth. They're not to be faulted for that," Kennedy's attorney Peter Erbland said of the suit that put the elections department under the microscope.

But, he said, instead of recognizing the election was conducted lawfully with a few mistakes, they ran from the truth "as if it were radioactive."

The day began with Hosack addressing the at-times "contentious" week in the courtroom. Both counsels at times argued with each other during the week, and the judge in turn criticized the counsels, but Hosack said Friday he appreciated the effort from both sides trying a unique case governed by 1890 statutes.

Hopefully, the judge said, the criticism "was equally spread out."

And no matter what he rules, he said about the split courtroom and close election, "50 percent will think I failed miserably."

Hosack will still decide whether to count testimony from three illegal voters as votes for Kennedy.

Hayden couple Ron Prior and Susan Harris said they couldn't remember for whom they voted, although recorded conversations indicated they thought it could have been for the incumbent. County resident Rahana Zellars testified she "probably voted for Kennedy."

If those votes are thrown out, it leaves the incumbent winning by one. The five-vote difference between Kennedy and Brannon was trimmed to four earlier in the week.

The defense position has always been that a few mistakes don't warrant throwing out an election. Proof sufficient to change the result was the only reason to.

But if Hosack agrees with Kelso that enough gray area exists on how the election was run, a new election may be ordered. Kelso also said that a voter who voted at the wrong precinct and another who received a wrong ballot before handing it back for the correct one also pointed out irregularities.

Saturday's atmosphere was more subdued than other days. At the end Brannon, who sat at the counsel table while Kennedy sat in the back of the courtroom, stood and chatted and thanked his supporters.

"I want to thank everyone for doing their jobs, and I want to thank the court," he said, adding that a possible two-week wait didn't bother him for a case that has come this far. "I truly mean that."

More about

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • femmeser421 posted at 1:28 am on Thu, Aug 25, 2011.

    femmeser421 Posts: 6

    As to being part of the "in crowd" or siding with them...wrong. I do know Mike Kennedy and Dan English and know that this election suit isn't uncovering some form of corruption or fraud in the city council election. I notice Dan has the stand up quality to use his name here as do Mary Souza and Dan Gookin. I can't say the same for you. vêtement femme

  • the floorist posted at 8:39 pm on Tue, Sep 21, 2010.

    the floorist Posts: 331

    Alright, Mr. Myers...

    Henceforth you may refer to me as, Mr. Evans. Decorum in the forum, sir...

    I employ no tactics. I envy Mary Souza for her name...her candor is assuredly adult drink of choice is as such. Dan G. displays character AND fortitude...admirable indeed. If transparency is what you seek within a veiled guise of poor grammar, garrulous taunting and hideous punctuation...then by all means...openly express your relations to the aforementioned parties involved...I'm sure they appreciate it!

    ..and Mr. Myers? If you wish to put your bawls where your Jr. High mouth number is listed and my e-mail is thefloorist@gmail...I'd be glad to meet you face to face...
    ...maybe you can show me how to change my S/N...LOL

  • Randy Myers posted at 4:22 pm on Tue, Sep 21, 2010.

    Randy Myers Posts: 1635

    @ share....I am referring to ALL the people who hide behind avatars so no double standard at all.

    @ floorist I don't think it's all that difficult to change your screen name here to your real name. Perhaps your abilities technologically arent as sharp as your lethal blades/ I'd say that to your face too. I'm glad that you seem to admit that there are things you WOULDN'T say to people face to face. Perhaps you are willing to give up the Jr. Hi tactics ? As to your name, sure...consider this a polite request to divulge the same.

  • sharetheplanet posted at 1:29 pm on Tue, Sep 21, 2010.

    sharetheplanet Posts: 809

    Hey randy, why dont u start with city council members that do not use THEIR names.


    Double standards -------------------------AGAIN !

  • the floorist posted at 1:14 pm on Tue, Sep 21, 2010.

    the floorist Posts: 331


    ...I can't change my screen name...I tried long ago when the web designer was reformatting this site. I can't even post to this site from any other terminal than this PC in (our) home office. My laptop, her laptop, my other PC...won't allow the login...soooo...anywho...I gotta go finish some work down at the lake since I popped online with a quick sandwich and to grab a skilsaw...

    ...if it matters so much who I am or anyone else all you have to do is politely ask and forgo the (Jr. High) implications...catch you later on some other thread, brown noser...LOL

    (sorry Mr. Myers but I would say the same thing to your's freekin' hilarious)

  • Randy Myers posted at 10:39 am on Tue, Sep 21, 2010.

    Randy Myers Posts: 1635

    Perhaps you should use the avatar name "Zorro" then floorist. I stand by what I said. I think I will make it part of my mission to point out the name callings and put downs I see here that add NOTHING to mature discussion. As to being part of the "in crowd" or siding with them...wrong. I do know Mike Kennedy and Dan English and know that this election suit isn't uncovering some form of corruption or fraud in the city council election. I notice Dan has the stand up quality to use his name here as do Mary Souza and Dan Gookin. I can't say the same for you. I also am not going to play the "guess who I am game" with you based on clues you leave. It is obvious you prefer to snipe and hide.

  • sharetheplanet posted at 10:25 am on Tue, Sep 21, 2010.

    sharetheplanet Posts: 809

    OMG the floorist, that was SCHWEET ! and right on the money.

  • the floorist posted at 9:29 am on Tue, Sep 21, 2010.

    the floorist Posts: 331

    Well, allow me the pleasure of informing you, Mr. Myers, that if you paid closer attention to what's REALLY going on around you, you would know that my name is not a secret. I'm invited into homes throughout this community and Spokane every day. My Jr. High mentality is as sharp as the razor blades I employ to a surgical end. To put it bluntly...I'm lethal...and paid well to exact my skill.
    ...and The Sunday NYT Crossword is one of my favorite victims...

    Poking me with a stick and trying to incite some benign retort to you is fitting to a degree since you obviously side with the 'in-crowd'...while safe and sane as it may seem the fact is I'll tell it to your face because I don't join popularity contests and seek gratitude from my cronies.

    I personally detest the tactics that this city's leadership valiantly rams up our (insert Jr. High commentary) with nary a thought to what is actually going on around them. Having said that...then I'll close this post by informing you that basically every single solitary household that I visit on a daily basis is struggling in ways that nary a one of our selfish councilors could ever fathom...
    ...aristocrats breed their greed while the poorest meek voices fall on deaf ears...

    To quote a local person of rather high authority once discussed with me the subject of this town's "...pathetically managed personnel..." "...It's not what you know, it's who you know...."

    tle (not the bank robber or football player) *<I:^~

  • Randy Myers posted at 11:30 pm on Mon, Sep 20, 2010.

    Randy Myers Posts: 1635

    Well floorist...let's put it this way about hiding behind avatar names. I'd bet you wouldn't say the things you do if you used your real name. I see it as basically cowardly. The reasons given like "I don't want to hurt my business," or "iIm a professional, '" are excuses not to speak the truth as you see it openly. I think many of the more caustic and spiteful little comments like "mousy pencil pusher" reflect Jr. High level commentary.

  • the floorist posted at 5:03 pm on Mon, Sep 20, 2010.

    the floorist Posts: 331

    Oh Dan, c'mon...English is just a mousy pencil pusher, Cruela is the (current) spit n shine and rarely will one of the lackeys dissent alone to show some inkling of individuality in an effort to portray a fair and balanced council...

    ...and I have to admit, honestly, to be an outspoken advocate for REAL leadership in this town...well better pull up them boot straps and pack a hefty checkbook...

  • Dan Gookin posted at 2:27 pm on Mon, Sep 20, 2010.

    Dan Gookin Posts: 656

    Bumble: You'll have to ask that question of Brannon because he's the one asking for a new election contest. Otherwise I agree with you: Until we elect a new County Clerk, there is no point in running for office when you cannot trust the election results.

  • Thaddeus posted at 2:03 pm on Mon, Sep 20, 2010.

    Thaddeus Posts: 232

    Uh-Oh, Looks like STP missed its twelve o'clock Midol!

  • sharetheplanet posted at 1:41 pm on Mon, Sep 20, 2010.

    sharetheplanet Posts: 809

    the floorist,

    Like a good little pawn, thad is just doing as his handlers say. It is TRULY a shame there are tose that cannot think for themselves.

  • Thaddeus posted at 1:16 pm on Mon, Sep 20, 2010.

    Thaddeus Posts: 232

    Not casting stones the flooist, just stating facts.

  • the floorist posted at 12:02 pm on Mon, Sep 20, 2010.

    the floorist Posts: 331

    >>>...The only ones riding that boat are the select "FEW" who actually hang on the words / descriptions put out by that dingbat....<<---- Thad

    So uppity and angry aren't you? I don't even like boating that much... @^@ houses, Thad...see-through glass houses...

  • Bumblebee posted at 9:35 am on Mon, Sep 20, 2010.

    Bumblebee Posts: 104

    Mary and Dan,

    If you really believe the election was rigged and that it was "stolen" and there was wide spread corruption, why would Jim Brannon want another election that would be run by the same people?

  • Thaddeus posted at 9:31 am on Mon, Sep 20, 2010.

    Thaddeus Posts: 232

    "Thad...Hasss...whatever...the vile rantings of a curmudgeon regardless." -- the floorist


    The only ones riding that boat are the select "FEW" who actually hang on the words / descriptions put out by that dingbat.

  • the floorist posted at 8:29 am on Mon, Sep 20, 2010.

    the floorist Posts: 331

    Thad...Hasss...whatever...the vile rantings of a curmudgeon regardless.

    " ...sometimes...there just aren't enough rocks...." FG

    Oh, and Randy...who really cares about whether you're peeking from behind a screen name or not?...there are some very good writers in here that make interesting comments and observations that truly exemplify those S/N's...and I love the ironicies either way...!

  • Thaddeus posted at 6:29 am on Mon, Sep 20, 2010.

    Thaddeus Posts: 232

    I'm not Phaedrus either Souza.

    As for ignoring people, well, a vast majority of thinking people have been ignoring your demented bilge for years but you're just to ignorant to realize it. You have been verified a liar numerous times (See Secret Recordings to you laughable description of the confrontation the trial witness had with the P.I. , *She musta took training from the Mary Souza School of Sleaze*). But it's just too much fun pointing out your inadequacies then watching you spin outta control trying to justify your unjustifiable hogwash.

    Souza,,,, You need help.

  • Mary Souza posted at 8:10 pm on Sun, Sep 19, 2010.

    Mary Souza Posts: 779

    And Randy, please don't worry about Thaddeus. We just ignore him because he's obviously part of the inner circle of riducule tactics. It just means we're right and we're making people uncomfortable, so they sic Thaddeus (or Phaedrus) on us. Pretend he's not there.

  • Mary Souza posted at 8:07 pm on Sun, Sep 19, 2010.

    Mary Souza Posts: 779

    Louis, I think you sound too sad. There is hope! True, this case might end up at the state supreme court, but I think it has also been seriously noted by state groups, the legislators and the Sec. of State. If public pressure builds, there WILL be changes.

  • RadRevD posted at 3:37 pm on Sun, Sep 19, 2010.

    RadRevD Posts: 3333

    How about his own personal title: Idaho Kennedy!

  • Randy Myers posted at 1:15 pm on Sun, Sep 19, 2010.

    Randy Myers Posts: 1635

    The name-calling here is detestable. No wonder most of you hide behind made up avatar names.

  • Thaddeus posted at 11:59 am on Sun, Sep 19, 2010.

    Thaddeus Posts: 232

    We can only hope that the electorate remembers both of these moron's names next election.

    TakeBackTheUSA posted at 5:24 am on Sun, Sep 19 2010. Log In to report comment


    Actually TBTUSA, It's two morons and a liar.

    But who's counting?

  • The Late Louis Nizer posted at 11:55 am on Sun, Sep 19, 2010.

    The Late Louis Nizer Posts: 188

    Mary Souza,

    It seems to me the entire election should be redone, not just Seat 2, if the issue is how the entire election was conducted. I understand that the court has limited it to just Seat 2, but if the entire election process was corrupted, then none of the vote totals can be trusted regardless of the margin. Then again, how honest will the new election be, assuming one is ordered, if it is run by the same people who ran the last one? Will they keep the required report this time? More important, will someone truly independent from outside be with every election official and every election office employee to ensure the next one is run honestly? Doubtful.

    I suspect the court decision in this case will be anticlimactic. A new election won't fix a corrupted election process. Only the legislature can do that, and from what I've seen of Idaho's legislators, they're not inclined to do it. They may give lip service to it and make a big production out of election reform, but when it is all said and done, they will still listen to the "experts" like English and the Secretary of State. Thus, the same people who caused the problem will be the ones entrusted to fix it. That won't work.

  • Mary Souza posted at 10:52 am on Sun, Sep 19, 2010.

    Mary Souza Posts: 779

    Louis, the Daily Reports weren't mentioned until late in the trial and were NEVER produced as evidence. I think they probably added them up, informally, and realized the totals did not match. Probably not even close, or they would have been parading those Daily Reports all around the courtroom on a silver platter!

    The city / county total of 2051, which is highly disputed, is merely the number of paper absentee ballots put through the counting machine on election night. There is NO REPORT in existence that verifies that there were 2051 valid, legal absentee voters! The law requires such a report. The county did not make one.

    The "most accurate" reports in existence, according to the Chief Deputy Secretary of State who is in charge of elections, are the two that show there were 2041 VALID absentee voters.

    Where did the other 10 ballots come from?

    There are also many, many, many other highly questionable problems with this election that came out in the trial. Let's hope the judge does the right thing for the voters of CdA and orders a new election for Seat 2 of the city council.

    I was in court every day, all day, during this trial. You can read my daily trial updates over on

  • RadRevD posted at 10:45 am on Sun, Sep 19, 2010.

    RadRevD Posts: 3333

    More than 6,000 votes were cast.

    Pathetic turnout, but indicative of Citizen-taxpayers who GET IT!

    sharetheplanet is spot on.
    take your bruises and stop questioning...or get steamrolled.

    I was once chastised by a supervisor of the Idaho Dept of Labor for the manner in which my workman's Comp claim and my effort toward physical and financial recovery were handled. she stated "this is still a small community, and people don't forget. She also advised me to remove 18 plus years of my ecclesiastical work & education history from my resume.

    I guess honesty and integrity are no longer valued by employers or government officials. They are content to manage risk that might expose them to legal action. Mike Kennedy once erringly invited me to an affordable housing workshop. I sat in the midst of city planners who reached the agreement never to seek variances on projects unless legally necessary. They were to employ other words like exception, understanding, or agreement for the greater goo, or any other word that did not carry the legal constraint of 'variance'.

    Since that meeting, Hayden proceeded with their redevelopment at the cost of business vitality and survivability. Coeur d'Alene proceeded with variant housing policies that fail to preserve existing character of neighborhoods or sustain the interests of existing property owners. Mike Kennedy is all in for such shenanigans. Those who challenge the powers behind Mikey will face consequence...Chicago Style!

  • The Late Louis Nizer posted at 9:59 am on Sun, Sep 19, 2010.

    The Late Louis Nizer Posts: 188

    The article said, "Deedie Beard, elections supervisor at the time of the election, testified during the week that the department kept daily absentee ballot reports, but didn't add those reports up. Those are still in storage with other documents, but weren't a part of the evidence."

    According to Hurst from the Secretary of State's office, Dan English failed in his duty to keep a specific and statutorily defined record of absentee ballots request, sent, and returned. That record would have conclusively proven one side or the other.

    And now from today's article we learned that Dan English kept daily absentee ballot reports but didn't add them up. If those reports, added up, would have proven defendant Kennedy's claim that 2,051 is the correct number of ballots, then why didn't Kennedy's attorney produce them in court? For that matter, why didn't English produce them months ago when it might have resolved the issue before the election contest was even filed?

    English is trying to cover for his failure of duty. He didn't keep the conclusive record the law required him to keep, and he didn't produce daily records which could have helped resolve the issue.

  • DeNiles posted at 9:22 am on Sun, Sep 19, 2010.

    DeNiles Posts: 2450

    One has to wonder if these election 'fixes' are reflected in this regions general voter apathy. It may seem like no matter whom you vote for the person who wins is the candidate preferred by the established hierarchy. Look at this trial. It is obvious and clear which candidate our seated officials prefer. There's no attempt to even feign any objectivity. It is contemptible.

  • sharetheplanet posted at 9:07 am on Sun, Sep 19, 2010.

    sharetheplanet Posts: 809

    Mr. Gookin,

    Competence is NOT a requirement in Kootenai County.

    U r either of the "IN" crowd or u dont have a job/ur business is boycotted.

    OR--- better yet, u r told to "shove it up ur #$$.

  • InThePines posted at 9:00 am on Sun, Sep 19, 2010.

    InThePines Posts: 146

    I understand there is another option to vote for come County Clerk election time.
    Very possibly that option needs investigating. New blood is often warranted.

  • Dan Gookin posted at 8:42 am on Sun, Sep 19, 2010.

    Dan Gookin Posts: 656

    Maybe if we had a competent County Clerk there wouldn't be so much bickering over the ballot counts, and then we'd have elections here where we could trust the results?

  • sharetheplanet posted at 6:53 am on Sun, Sep 19, 2010.

    sharetheplanet Posts: 809

    Takeback, PLEASE open ur eyes to the overall corrupt government throughout this country.

    R u one of those people that overload or stack the dishes in ur dishwasher then complain that it is a piece of sh#t because IT did not get ur dishes clean?

    Or are u one that gets mad a the mechanic when he tells u need a new enginge cause u never changed ur oil?

    Do u vote? Do u incourage ur children, friends and neighbors to vote?

    I for one am EXTREMELY happy that Brannon/Kelso had the guts to stand for justice and protect our votes. Maybe it will FINALLY send a wave across this nation that we r tired of it and want PROOF that our votes count.

    What I'm getting at is,

    CAUSE AND EFFECT my friend

    C A U S E----A N D----E F F E C T !

  • TakeBackTheUSA posted at 5:24 am on Sun, Sep 19, 2010.

    TakeBackTheUSA Posts: 765

    We can only hope that the electorate remembers both of these moron's names next election.

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Not you?||
Logout|My Dashboard