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Idaho Campaign Finance Reform Initiative Falls Short On Signatures

Kyle Green
Idaho Statesman

Supporters of sweeping changes to Idaho's campaign finance laws have failed to collect enough signatures to get their initiative on the November ballot.

Holli Woodings, a Boise Democrat who chaired the Keep Idaho Elections Accountable campaign, said Friday that her group needed at least 48,000 valid signatures, but they fell short by about 6,000. Signatures are only valid if they're from people with up-to-date voter registration.

“The poison pill ended up being people who believed they are registered to vote," says Woodings, "but they’ve moved.”

In Idaho, registration is tied to one’s address. Idahoans need to re-register even if after moving within the same county. Woodings says many other states do not have this rule.

County clerks finished verifying the signatures Thursday evening.

“Our County Clerks were phenomenal during this process. There’s a lot of statutory gray area around petitions, and they were wonderful to work with.”

The group's initiative would have reduced some campaign contribution limits and enforced stricter penalties for breaking campaign finance laws.

Voter initiatives to get on the statewide ballot must have signatures from 6 percent of the total of those who voted in the last presidential election from 18 out of Idaho's 35 legislative districts.

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