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Group that lost ballot effort to repeal Pocatello gay rights law wants recount

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

POCATELLO, Idaho — A group opposed to Pocatello’s LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance retained by voters last month is seeking a recount.

PocatelloBannock County election officials tell the Idaho State Journal that Vote Yes Pocatello made the request Monday. The group wants a recount in 20 of Pocatello’s 39 precincts from the May 20 election, as well as a recount of early and absentee votes.

Ian Service, Bannock County’s chief civil deputy prosecutor, said the next step is for the application to be approved. After that, the county clerk will then issue an order and the recount will have to take place within 10 days.

“It will be the same (procedure) as election night,” Service said.

The Pocatello City Council in June 2013 passed an ordinance banning discrimination against a person because of sexual orientation or gender identity. Supporters say it also protects people from losing their jobs or homes because they are members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Some residents contend it’s a bad law because it forces business owners to choose between their personal beliefs and their profession. Proposition One on the May 20 ballot asked city residents whether to keep the law or repeal it.

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Officials said that 4,943 people voted to keep the law in place, while 4,863 people voted to rescind it. While close, it wasn’t close enough to trigger an automatic recount.

Vote Yes Pocatello had to pay $100 for each precinct it wanted recounted.

The group said all people should be treated fairly and respectfully, but that the ordinance takes away rights from some citizens. The group also said the law uses subjective and ambiguous language that could end up abusing the privacy rights of women and children.

Another problem, the group said, is that the law threatens people with fines and jail time for adhering to personal beliefs.

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