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Reclaim Idaho files lawsuit to strike down anti-initiatives law

| May 10, 2021 12:41 PM

Last week Reclaim Idaho filed suit in the Idaho Supreme Court to strike down Idaho’s recently enacted anti-initiatives law as unconstitutional.

The Committee to Protect and Preserve the Idaho Constitution is serving as a plaintiff in the case alongside Reclaim Idaho.

The anti-initiatives law, signed by Governor Little on April 17, requires ballot-initiative campaigns to collect signatures from at least 6% of registered voters in each of Idaho’s 35 state legislative districts, up from the 18 districts previously required.

Represented by attorneys Deborah Ferguson and Craig Durham of Ferguson Durham PLLC, Reclaim Idaho says the new anti-initiatives law violates the fundamental right of Idaho citizens to propose or reject legislation. The anti-initiatives law gives Idaho the most restrictive signature requirements in the nation, making it virtually impossible for grassroots organizations to qualify initiatives and referendums for the ballot. Of the 24 states with ballot measures, no other state requires a large number of signatures from all state-legislative districts.

The lawsuit, Reclaim Idaho v. Lawerence Denney, features written testimony from a list of experts including:

  • Ben Ysursa, former Idaho Secretary of State who served for three terms Luke Mayville, Co-Founder of Reclaim Idaho
  • Gary Moncrief, Boise State University Distinguished Professor of Political Science
  • Karen Lansing, former judge on the Idaho Court of Appeals
  • David Daley, nationally known elections expert and best-selling author
  • Robin Nettinga, former Executive Director of the Idaho Education Association and organizer of the successful 2012 referendum campaign to repeal the “Luna Laws”
  • Linda Larson, Bonner County volunteer leader of Reclaim Idaho
  • Jessica Mahuron, Kootenai County volunteer leader of the Medicaid Expansion signature drive

Reclaim Idaho is also prepared to launch a signature drive to qualify the Initiative Rights Act for the ballot. The Initiative Rights Act would restore the signature requirements that existed in 2012: 6% of registered voters statewide, without regard to where those voters live. For most of Idaho history, there was no geographic-distribution requirement for signature drives. The first such requirement did not appear until 1997.