Print Friendly HOUSE BILL NO. 517 – Initiative/referendum, signatures
HOUSE BILL NO. 517
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H0517......................................................by STATE AFFAIRS
INITIATIVES/REFERENDUMS - Repeals and adds to existing law to provide
minimum signature requirements for initiative or referendum petitions; to
revise petition requirements; to provide for processing of petitions that
are submitted to a county clerk before the deadline for submission; to
provide that signature sheets shall contain signatures of qualified
electors from only one county and legislative district; and to provide that
signers shall reside in a legislative district.
01/22 House intro - 1st rdg - to printing
01/23 Rpt prt - to St Aff
]]]] LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF IDAHO ]]]]
Fifty-seventh Legislature Second Regular Session - 2004
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
HOUSE BILL NO. 517
BY STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
1 AN ACT
2 RELATING TO INITIATIVE OR REFERENDUM ELECTIONS; REPEALING SECTION 34-1805,
3 IDAHO CODE; AMENDING CHAPTER 18, TITLE 34, IDAHO CODE, BY THE ADDITION OF
4 A NEW SECTION 34-1805, IDAHO CODE, TO PROVIDE MINIMUM SIGNATURE REQUIRE-
5 MENTS FOR INITIATIVE OR REFERENDUM PETITIONS; AMENDING SECTION 34-1801A,
6 IDAHO CODE, TO REVISE PETITION REQUIREMENTS; AMENDING SECTION 34-1802,
7 IDAHO CODE, TO PROVIDE FOR PROCESSING OF PETITIONS THAT ARE SUBMITTED TO A
8 COUNTY CLERK BEFORE THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION OF THE PETITION AND TO
9 PROVIDE APPLICATION TO FORMS UTILIZED; AMENDING SECTION 34-1804, IDAHO
10 CODE, TO PROVIDE THAT SIGNATURE SHEETS SHALL CONTAIN SIGNATURES OF QUALI-
11 FIED ELECTORS FROM ONLY ONE COUNTY AND LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT; AND AMENDING
12 SECTION 34-1807, IDAHO CODE, TO PROVIDE THAT SIGNERS SHALL RESIDE IN A
13 LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT AND TO MAKE A TECHNICAL CORRECTION.
14 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:
15 SECTION 1. That Section 34-1805, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby
17 SECTION 2. That Chapter 18, Title 34, Idaho Code, be, and the same is
18 hereby amended by the addition thereto of a NEW SECTION, to be known and des-
19 ignated as Section 34-1805, Idaho Code, and to read as follows:
20 34-1805. SPONSORS TO PRINT PETITION -- NUMBER OF SIGNERS REQUIRED. After
21 the form of the initiative or referendum petition has been approved by the
22 secretary of state as provided in sections 34-1801A through 34-1822, Idaho
23 Code, the same shall be printed by the person or persons or organization or
24 organizations under whose authority the measure is to be referred or initiated
25 and circulated in the several counties of the state for the signatures of
26 legal voters. Before such petitions shall be entitled to final filing and con-
27 sideration by the secretary of state there shall be affixed thereto the signa-
28 tures of legal voters equal in number to not less than six percent (6%) of the
29 qualified electors of the state at the time of the last general election. Pro-
30 vided, that the petition must contain a number of signatures of qualified
31 electors from each of twenty (20) legislative districts equal to not less
32 than six percent (6%) of the qualified electors at the time of the last gen-
33 eral election in each of those twenty (20) legislative districts.
34 SECTION 3. That Section 34-1801A, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby
35 amended to read as follows:
36 34-1801A. PETITION. The following shall be substantially the form of
37 petition for any law proposed by the initiative:
39 It is a felony for anyone to sign any initiative or referendum petition with
40 any name other than his own, or to knowingly sign his name more than once for
1 the measure, or to sign such petition when he is not a qualified elector.
2 INITIATIVE PETITION
3 To the Honorable ...., Secretary of State of the State of Idaho:
4 "We, the undersigned citizens and qualified electors of the State of Idaho,
5 respectfully demand that the following proposed law, to-wit: (setting out full
6 text of measure proposed) shall be submitted to the qualified electors of the
7 State of Idaho, for their approval or rejection at the regular general elec-
8 tion, to be held on the .... day of ...., A.D., ...., and each for himself
9 says: I have personally signed this petition; I am a qualified elector of the
10 State of Idaho; my residence and post office legislative district are cor-
11 rectly written after my name.
12 Signature Printed Residence City or and Date
13 Name Street and Number Post Office
16 (Here follow twenty numbered lines for signatures.)
17 The petition for referendum on any act passed by the state legislature of the
18 state of Idaho shall be in substantially the same form with appropriate title
19 and changes, setting out in full the text of the act of the legislature to be
20 referred to the people for their approval or rejection.
21 SECTION 4. That Section 34-1802, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby
22 amended to read as follows:
23 34-1802. INITIATIVE PETITIONS -- TIME FOR GATHERING SIGNATURES -- TIME
24 FOR SUBMISSION OF SIGNATURES TO THE COUNTY CLERK -- TIME FOR FILING. (1)
25 Except as provided in section 34-1804, Idaho Code, petitions for an initiative
26 shall be circulated and signatures obtained beginning upon the date that the
27 petitioners receive the official ballot title from the secretary of state and
28 extending eighteen (18) months from that date or April 30 of the year that an
29 election on the initiative will be held, whichever occurs earlier. The last
30 day for circulating petitions and obtaining signatures shall be the last day
31 of April in the year an election on the initiative will be held.
32 (2) The person or persons or organization or organizations under whose
33 authority the measure is to be initiated shall submit the petitions containing
34 signatures to the county clerk for verification pursuant to the provisions of
35 section 34-1807, Idaho Code. The signatures required shall be submitted to the
36 county clerk not later than the close of business on the first day of May in
37 the year an election on the initiative will be held, or eighteen (18) months
38 from the date the petitioner receives the official ballot title from the sec-
39 retary of state, whichever is earlier.
40 (3) The county clerk shall, within sixty (60) calendar days of the dead-
41 line for the submission of the signatures, verify the signatures contained in
42 the petitions, but in no event shall the time extend beyond the last day of
43 June in the year an election on the initiative will be held. If a county clerk
44 receives a petition before the deadline for submission of signatures, the
45 county clerk shall not retain any such petition or any part thereof for a
46 longer period than two (2) working days for the first two hundred (200) signa-
47 tures thereon, and one (1) additional working day for each two hundred (200)
48 additional signatures or fractions thereof, on the sheets presented to the
49 clerk, and at the expiration of such time the clerk shall deliver the same to
50 the person from whom it was received with a certificate attached thereto as
51 above provided. The forms herein given are not mandatory and if substantially
1 followed in any petition, it shall be sufficient, disregarding clerical and
2 merely technical error.
3 (4) Initiative petitions with the requisite number of signatures attached
4 shall be filed with the secretary of state not less than four (4) months
5 before the election at which they are to be voted upon.
6 SECTION 5. That Section 34-1804, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby
7 amended to read as follows:
8 34-1804. PRINTING OF PETITION AND SIGNATURE SHEETS. Before or at the time
9 of beginning to circulate any petition for the referendum to the people on any
10 act passed by the state legislature of the state of Idaho, or for any law pro-
11 posed by the initiative, the person or persons or organization or organiza-
12 tions under whose authority the measure is to be referred or initiated shall
13 send or deliver to the secretary of state a copy of such petition duly signed
14 by at least twenty (20) qualified electors of the state which shall be filed
15 by said officer in his office, and who shall immediately transmit a copy of
16 the petition to the attorney general for the issuance of the certificate of
17 review as provided in section 34-1809, Idaho Code. All petitions for the ini-
18 tiative and for the referendum and sheets for signatures shall be printed on a
19 good quality of bond or ledger paper in the form and manner as approved by the
20 secretary of state. To every sheet of petitioners' signatures shall be
21 attached a full and correct copy of the measure so proposed by initiative
22 petition; but such petition may be filed by the secretary of state in numbered
23 sections for convenience in handling. Every sheet of petitioners' signatures
24 upon referendum petitions shall be attached to a full and correct copy of the
25 measure on which the referendum is demanded, and may be filed in numbered sec-
26 tions in like manner as initiative petitions. Not more than twenty (20) signa-
27 tures on one (1) sheet shall be counted. Each signature sheet shall contain
28 signatures of qualified electors from only one (1) county and legislative dis-
30 SECTION 6. That Section 34-1807, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby
31 amended to read as follows:
32 34-1807. CIRCULATION OF PETITIONS -- VERIFICATION OF PETITION AND SIGNA-
33 TURE SHEETS -- COMPARISON OF SIGNATURES WITH REGISTRATION OATHS AND RECORDS --
34 CERTAIN PETITIONS AND SIGNATURES VOID. Any person who circulates any petition
35 for an initiative or referendum shall be a resident of the state of Idaho and
36 at least eighteen (18) years of age. Each and every sheet of every such
37 petition containing signatures shall be verified on the face thereof in sub-
38 stantially the following form, by the person who circulated said sheet of said
39 petition, by his or her affidavit thereon, and as a part thereof:
40 State of Idaho,
42 County of ....
43 I, ...., being first duly sworn, say: That I am a resident of the State of
44 Idaho and at least eighteen (18) years of age: that every person who signed
45 this sheet of the foregoing petition signed his or her name thereto in my
46 presence: I believe that each has stated his or her name, post-office address
47 legislative district and residence correctly, that each signer is a qualified
48 elector of the State of Idaho, and a resident of legislative district number
49 .... in the county of ....
51 Post-office address ....
1 Subscribed and sworn to before me this .... day of .........
2 (Notary Seal) Notary Public....
3 Residing at ....
4 In addition to said affidavit the county clerk shall carefully examine
5 said petitions and shall attach to the signature sheets a certificate to the
6 secretary of state substantially as follows:
7 State of Idaho
9 County of ....
10 To the honorable ...., Secretary of State for the State of Idaho: I, ....,
11 County Clerk of .... County, hereby certify that .... signatures on this
12 petition are those of qualified electors in legislative district number
14 Signed ....
15 County Clerk or Deputy.
16 (Seal of office)
17 The county clerk shall deliver the petition or any part thereof to the
18 person from whom he received it with his certificate attached thereto as above
19 provided. The forms herein given are not mandatory and if substantially fol-
20 lowed in any petition, it shall be sufficient, disregarding clerical and
21 merely technical error.
22 Any petition upon which signatures are obtained by a person not a resident
23 of the state of Idaho and at least eighteen (18) years of age, shall be void.
24 The definition of resident in section 34-107, Idaho Code, shall apply to the
25 circulators of initiative and referendum petitions. In addition to to being a
26 resident, a petition circulator shall be at least eighteen (18) years of age.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
In 1997, the Idaho Legislature modernized the state's initiative and
referendum laws that had existed virtually unchanged since their
passage in the 1930s.
One section of the 1997 legislation was designed to correct a problem
that had developed over the years with collection of signatures to
qualify initiatives for the ballot. Initiative supporters tended to
collect thousands of signatures in Idaho's urban areas. As a result,
the opportunity for residents of less-populated areas to have equal
input into the issue of qualifying initiatives for the ballot was
restricted in comparison to urban residents.
To improve balance in the signature collection process between urban
and rural voters, the 1997 Legislature instituted a requirement to
collect signatures equal to at least 6% of the registered voters in at
least half of Idaho's 44 counties in order to qualify an initiative
for the ballot.
That county signature collection requirement subsequently was ruled
unconstitutional by the United States District Court for Idaho
ironically, on the basis that the county requirement disadvantaged
urban voters in comparison to rural voters. This District Court ruling
was upheld Sept. 8, 2003, by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
However, while affirming that a "minimum number of counties"
requirement violated the Idaho Constitution, Ninth Circuit Judge
Stephen Reinhardt (writing for the majority) specifically stated as
follows: "Idaho could achieve the same end through a geographic
distribution requirement that does not violate equal protection, for
example, by basing any such requirement on existing state legislative
In order to improve the balance between urban and rural voters in the
question of qualifying initiatives for the ballot, this legislation
would base requirements on collecting signatures equal to not less
than 6% of registered voters in 20 of Idaho's legislative districts.
There is no fiscal impact to the General Fund.
Name: Rep. Bill Deal
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE/FISCAL NOTE H 517