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Idaho's circulation deadline arrives for initiatives

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April 30, 2010

By Al Ortiz

BOISE, Idaho: The petition circulation deadline for initiatives hoping to make the November 2, 2010 ballot in Idaho has arrived, as petition organizers must cease circulation of petitions, according to the office of the Idaho Secretary of State. In order for a proposed initiative to be considered for the ballot, signatures must be turned in to county clerks in the areas petitions have been circulating by Monday at the end of the business day, according to the Secretary of State's Elections office. In essence, the circulation deadline for the state is today, but submission of those signatures is May 1, 2010. Since that date falls on a Saturday, Monday has been designated as this year's deadline. County clerks who receive signatures must verify them and have them turned in to Ben Ysursa's office by June 30, 2010.

According to the Secretary of State's official website, 20 proposed measures were filed for circulation. History says that most won't make it to the ballot. No initiatives qualified for the 2008 ballot in the state. Only two made the ballot in 2006.

Among initiative efforts that are not expected to file signatures is the bible study initiative that would have asked voters if there should be classes in state schools that study the bible in literary and historical contexts. As of late April, the measure had only collected about 5,000 signatures, well short of the 51,712 it needed to be considered for the ballot.

Initiatives have had a long history in Idaho, dating back to 1912. According to the Secretary of State's website,

"The initiative and referendum were written into the Idaho Constitution by amendments in 1912. They were policies of the Populist wave of that era. It took the Idaho legislature 21 years to implement those constitutional provisions. The laws setting up the mechanics by which the people could initiate a law, or refer a law written by the legislature to the people for approval or rejection, were enacted by the 1933 legislature."

The first initiative, the site shows, to make the Idaho ballot was in 1936, when voters rejected a law that would have implemented a two percent sales tax. Election results follow:[1]

  • Yes: 68,728 (47.7%)
  • No: 75,468 (52.3%) Defeatedd

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