A set of 17 voter initiatives, many aimed at strengthening Idaho’s state sovereignty, likely didn’t garner enough signatures from voters to appear on the November general election ballot. One of the backers of the slate of initiatives, called the Idaho Freedom Initiatives, said signature counts he’s received have been well below the 51,712 needed by April 30 to get on the ballot.
In a bid for a single Hailey City Council seat, incumbent Martha (Beaver) Burke will square off against challenger Anthony (Tony) St. George for a four-year term. Burke, a former Hailey planning and zoning commissioner, has positioned herself in interviews and debates as a defender of the “family-friendly” character of old Hailey. She has served four terms (16 years) on the City Council.
Eight states - Alaska, Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Oregon - ban or restrict paying people who collect signatures on a ballot initiative, referendum or recall petition based on their productivity, or the number of signatures they collect. Payment-per-signature allows citizens greater certainty in judging the cost of a petition effort. Moreover, in states that have passed such bans, the cost of successfully completing a petition drive has risen considerably, sometimes more than doubling.
A voter initiative to allow permanent mail-in absentee voting has passed final review by the Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden. A group led by Larry Grant, who ran for Congress in 2006 as a Democrat, wants to allow people to register just once with their county clerk to vote absentee, rather than having to do it again and again every year. Grant, chairman of Idaho Vote by Mail, is trying to get the initiative on the ballot for 2012 and must collect 52,000 registered voters’ signatures to do it.
Nearly twice as many efforts to recall public officials are underway this year than last, according to Citizens in Charge Foundation President Paul Jacob. In his daily Common Sense commentary, Paul points out several of the recall efforts from around the country, many of which have been mentioned on this site.
Backers of mail-in voting in Idaho have filed an initiative petition seeking to let Idaho voters put in a permanent request for an absentee ballot, rather than having to request one each election. Former Democratic congressional candidate Larry Grant, a board member of Idaho Vote by Mail Inc., said, “There are plenty of folks who need or prefer to vote by mail, but we are not asking that Idaho go to full voting by mail. The initiative simply provides that those folks who want or need to vote by absentee ballot don’t have to ask for one every time. It’s a good middle ground.
It’s a question Charles Seldon is asking and is hoping 51,000 other Idahoans will agree. “When we take the bible out of the foundation of our education, our Government and our way of life, our country will fail,” Seldon said. Seldon is the founder of the Idaho group, Our Godly American Heritage. He’s working to bring the Bible into Idaho public high school classrooms, by getting the issue put on a ballot initiative.
“The board felt a need to address the concerns of our patrons over the current economic conditions in the district. We will have to use money from our fund balance to balance the budget.”
Residency requirements are one of the most frequently imposed restrictions on the initiative process. These laws require that someone circulating a petition for an initiative, referendum, or recall effort be a resident of the state, county, or locality that the petition is aimed at. Supporters of such requirements claim that they are needed to reduce fraud and insure that circulators can be found if signatures are challenged.