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Idaho governor signs bill making it harder for voters to put initiatives on the ballot

Idaho governor signs bill making it harder for voters to put initiatives on the ballot
© Facebook: Brad Little

Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) signed a bill on Saturday that would make it harder for voters to get initiatives on the ballot.

Little signed Senate Bill 110 on Saturday, which establishes that signatures from six percent of voters in the state’s 35 legislative districts are needed to get an initiative on the ballot.

Prior to the law’s signing, six percent of voters in at least 18 legislative districts were needed.

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The measure took effect immediately upon Little’s signature.

In a transmittal letter explaining his decision to sign, Little explained that “Idaho has an important interest in ensuring that our ballots are not cluttered with initiatives that have not demonstrated sufficient grassroots support.”

“Senate Bill 110 has a laudable goal of ensuring that initiatives have a minimal level of support throughout all of Idaho before they are placed on the ballot,” he wrote.  

He noted that state and federal courts may have to decide whether the bill is constitutional. However, he said he there is “good cause” to believe the “neutral regulations in this bill are constitutionally permissible.”

“I appreciate that signing this bill will be controversial,” Little wrote. “Very few issues elicit such strong feelings from both sides of the debate.”

Opponents of the measure were concerned that the bill would make it virtually impossible to get measures on the ballot, The Associated Press reported. Some see it as an attempt to stop some left-leaning causes form passing in Idaho such as medical marijuana.

Grassroots group Reclaim Idaho said in a statement that it filed a lawsuit over the bill, arguing that it it violates the state’s constitution.

Several GOP-led states, including Arizona and South Dakota, are considering similar legislation raising requirements for ballot measures after progressives secured some wins during the 2020 election.