Since filing to run for office, I have been approached by many individuals, both in District 11 and elsewhere in the state, about Patti Anne Lodge's residency. I have spent long hours researching the issue and have met in person with both Chris Yamamoto, Canyon County Clerk, and Ben Ysursa, Secretary of State, to inquire about the facts of the case. If you would like, you can read through my findings and analysis, which are quite lengthy and include the relevant Idaho Code.
For those who want the short version, I believe that Patti Anne Lodge is not qualified to be on the ballot in District 11, and that the Secretary of State is purposely misinterpreting a law (with the support of the Attorney General) in order to allow her to proceed, and that the County Clerk is complicit with his directive. I believe that all individuals involved have violated provisions in Idaho Code and should be prosecuted.
The constitution of the state of Idaho dictates that a state senator must be an elector (registered voter) within the district for one year preceding their election. When a voter moves, they are required to re-register. There are certain exceptions for this, spelled out in both the constitution and code which prevent the loss or gain of residency.
Patti Anne Lodge moved out of District 11 and into District 10 during 2011 when they donated their home and it was removed from their property. Her stated intent was to build a new home and return to the property in the future. She did not re-register as required when she moved, and the Canyon County Clerk has refused to change her status, even when external actions should have triggered an investigation, such as having her homeowner's exemption revoked for "no home on this site".
The Secretary of State, supported by the Attorney General, is misconstruing Idaho Code 34-107, which defines "Residence", to certify Patti Anne Lodge's candidacy, focusing on the "temporary" nature of the situation. They are ignoring the fundamental basis of the definition, which defines a residence as "...the principle or primary home or place of abode... in which his habitation is fixed." In this case, there is no home. If this condition is not met, then the rest of the definition does not make sense, "...to which a person, whenever he is absent, has the present intention of returning after a departure or absence therefrom, regardless of the duration of absence." It is simply not possible to return to a home that no longer exists on the site. Likewise, leaving a home for a "temporary purpose", which is their claim, is logically impossible if the home no longer exists.
Patti Anne Lodge could have chosen to continue to live in District 11 while a new home was built on the property, but she did not do so. She should be willing to face the consequences. Correcting the situation in order to meet the one year requirement is no longer an option. Her current elector status is not legitimate and should be revoked, which would automatically disqualify her from holding office.