Idaho Supreme Court takes up Reclaim Idaho’s case against law on voter initiatives

    BRIEF

    The Idaho Supreme Court Building
    Idaho Supreme Court building in Boise on March 20, 2021. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)

    The Idaho Supreme Court will hear arguments this month over a new Idaho law that adds requirements for Idahoans to get voter initiatives on the ballot.

    The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. June 29, a Tuesday. The Idaho Supreme Court will hold the hearing over Zoom and will live-stream it for the public.

    The Idaho Legislature passed the measure during its 2021 session. Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed it into law in April, and Reclaim Idaho sued in May, with other groups signing on. It requires organizers of ballot initiatives to gather signatures from 6% of voters in all 35 legislative districts. Previously, they needed signatures from 6% of voters in 18 districts.

    The law’s supporters say it ensures all parts of Idaho have an equal participation in the initiative process, the Sun has previously reported.

    The most recent major change to Idaho law, via ballot measure, was the expansion of Idaho Medicaid so that it now covers working-poor Idahoans. That initiative, spearheaded by Reclaim Idaho, passed with 61% of the vote in a statewide election.

    The group issued a news release Thursday, saying the new law “gives Idaho the most restrictive signature-gathering rules in the nation and makes future grassroots initiatives virtually impossible.” It argues the law is unconstitutional.

    “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to argue our case on behalf of the people of Idaho,” Luke
    Mayville, co-founder of Reclaim Idaho, said in the release. “The initiative process has been the guaranteed right of Idaho citizens for over 100 years. For the thousands of Idahoans who are paying close attention, it is a great
    relief to know that the Idaho Supreme Court understands the urgency of this issue.”

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    Audrey Dutton
    Audrey Dutton, senior investigative reporter, joined the Idaho Capital Sun after 10 years at the Idaho Statesman. Her favorite topics to cover include health care, business, consumer protection issues and white collar crime. Dutton hails from Twin Falls. She attended college at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and received a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in New York City. Before coming home to Idaho, Dutton worked as a journalist in Minnesota, New York, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Dutton's work has earned dozens of state, regional and national awards for investigative reporting, health care and business reporting, radio journalism, data visualization and much more. Her resume also includes fellowships from the Association of Health Care Journalists, Idaho Press Club, Idaho Media Initiative and Investigative Reporters and Editors. Dutton also teaches an upper-division journalism course at Boise State University. She resides in Boise with her husband, young daughter and two cats.