Idaho Gubernatorial candidate fined for "Don't Vote" signs

Posted at 5:52 PM, Nov 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-04 20:24:53-04

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho gubernatorial candidate Ammon Bundy has been fined for signs reading "don't vote" recently placed across the state.

The black and white signs have a QR code that takes you to a webpage saying not to vote if you're not informed, calling you a "lousy citizen" or even "the most dangerous person in a democracy."

The Secretary of State's office passed a complaint to the Idaho Attorney General for violation of campaign finance laws. Friday the office of the Attorney General sent Bundy a letter saying he was responsible for the signs and was given a $250 fine.

The letter also says the campaign must clearly attribute the signs and website to Bundy's campaign. A small sticker in the corner is now on some of the signs showing it's paid for by the campaign.

"It's possible that if that site had been clearly educational and not tied to a candidate or not tied to a campaign or a group of candidates to the benefit of some candidate that could have been considered an educational component. Someone's opinion expressing their first amendment rights," said Chad Houck, Chief Deputy Secretary of State.

Related: Idaho Elections: How to be informed

When the site links to a candidate's campaign website that made it subject to Idaho law. "That makes it clearly political messaging, makes it and all the subsequent components of that campaign subject to finance campaign finance laws," said Houck.

The page ultimately takes you to Ammon Bundy's campaign website as a way to inform voters.

Friday, the page still took you to the campaign's website but recently changed to a landing page with an interview Bundy did with Idaho Public Television.

“Idaho Public Television doesn’t endorse candidates. Many of the candidates we interview do share those interviews, and we have no control over how the candidates present them,” said Bill Manny, Executive Producer, IDPTV.

If Bundy refuses to pay the fine and clearly attributes the signs and website the AG's office could take him to court making him even pay legal fees in addition to the fine.

As of Friday evening, the site and signs remained unchanged.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov 8.

Read the full letter from the Idaho Attorney General below: