House Bill 290 — Elections, signature verification

House Bill 290 — Elections, signature verification

by
Parrish Miller
March 6, 2021
Parrish Miller
March 6, 2021

Bill Description: House Bill 290 clarifies that county clerks should verify voter signatures and requires the Secretary of State to set the standards for this process. 

Rating: +1

Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?

House Bill 290 amends Section 34-202, Idaho Code, to say, "The secretary of state shall develop and provide to each county clerk instructions and standards for the verification, acceptance, and rejection of elector signatures for any process requiring signature verification."

House Bill 290 amends Section 34-217, Idaho Code, to require that "absentee ballot affidavit envelopes, including the indication of the signature's acceptance or rejection" be retained for not less than five years.

House Bill 290 amends Section 34-1005, Idaho Code, to clarify that "verifying that the signature" on an absentee ballot "matches the signature from such elector's voter registration" is a duty of the county clerk. 

House Bill 290 amends section 34-1803 and 34-1807, Idaho Code, to clarify that it is the duty of a county clerk to verify signatures on a referendum petition and to "strike from the petition any names for which he has determined that the name, address, or signature do not match those of a qualified elector of the proper jurisdiction." 

Finally, House Bill 290 adds a new subsection 5 to Section 34-1807, Idaho Code, which says, "Any signature that is not a physical signature, including an electronic signature, is void." This clarifies that only physical signatures are acceptable on initiative or referendum petitions in Idaho. 

While these changes are all essentially clarifications that put current practices into statute, they serve to protect the integrity of Idaho's voting system from efforts to weaken or subvert the verification practices now used in the state. 

(+1)

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