Senator aims to change referendum requirements
According to state law, to get a referendum on the ballot, 6% of the state's registered voters are required to sign a petition. That's not hard enough, says one lawmaker. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
According to state law, to get a referendum on the ballot, 6% of the state's registered voters are required to sign a petition.
That's not hard enough, says one lawmaker.
"Currently, you could easily gather all those signatures from a single location,” says Senator Curt McKenzie (R – Nampa). “Ya know, if an entity came in, paid people to gather signatures, you could get it from one spot in the state."
McKenzie's Senate Bill 1108 forces referendums to reach signature quotas in areas all around the state, not just one. But, Democrats say the bill is aimed at certain voters.
"Particularly 1108 was to make it more difficult for a referendum initiative process,” Senator Michelle Stennett (D – Ketchum) says, “I think it was partly a backlash because we were successful with the Luna laws."
McKenzie says last year's referendums would easily pass his higher standards to get on the ballot.
Still, Stennett says she thinks the bill restricts voter rights and she wants people who agree with her to speak out.
"To call, to email, whatever means they have available to them to voice that their opinion should be part of the process, that we have a decent initiative and referendum process that doesn't need to be more restricted,” she says.
McKenzie says the bill is not mean-spirited and he does believe in referendums. He just thinks more of the state needs to be involved before any measure hits the ballot.
"Regardless of what policy we put in place here,” he says, “if it's not something that the people want, then they should be able to express their opinions."