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.
“We fell short,” said Chris Bass, who is sponsoring similar initiatives in Washington state, and has worked closely on Idaho’s ballot measures. “It doesn’t look like we’re really going to be that close.” Bass didn’t have a final tally on how many signatures were collected, because he was waiting for any late reports from people collecting signatures. He said the initiatives received more support in northern Idaho, where the sponsor of all 17 initiatives, Alanna Grimm of Hayden, lives. “We were a lot more effective in northern Idaho than in Boise and other parts of the state,” Bass said. He said the next step for the group will likely be to present the signatures as a petition to state lawmakers to show support for changes to state law.
Initiatives favoring states’ rights, including measures that would prohibit federal mandates to buy specific health insurance plans and curb regulations on greenhouse gasses in Idaho, received the most support, according to Bass. Those initiatives also received top billing by the group’s signature collectors. “We tried to put the most important ones up front and the ones toward the end got less, except the presidential citizenship act didn’t get a lot (of signatures),” he said. A plan to remove state penalties for midwives practicing without a state license, which Bass called a niche issue, also received less support, though he said many people signed all the initiatives.
Ballot initiatives are still being circulated in Washington and Oregon, which have July deadlines for signatures. Bass is promoting nine initiatives in Washington, and said his group is having more success there. “The grassroots network is a bit more tightly knit in Washington, where the word gets out a lot better than it does in Idaho,” he said.
An initiative that would allow public high schools to offer an elective Bible study class was also being circulated before the April 30 deadline to report signatures to county clerks. The sponsor of that measure, Chuck Seldon of Boise, told IdahoReporter.com that the initiative was being used for educational purposes, and that he’s pursuing legislative action, rather than a statewide vote, to make changes to state law and policy.