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Horse Racing Gambling Gets Closer To Idaho Ballot

Todd Dvorak
Volunteers for "Save Idaho Horse Racing" carry some of the 50 boxes containing signed petitions down a hallway of the Idaho Statehouse.

On Thursday, the “Save Idaho Horse Racing” campaign delivered 50 boxes of signed petitions to the Idaho Secretary of State in an effort to get their initiative on the November ballot.

The initiative would ask Idaho voters if they would legalize the use of horse-racing gambling machines at race tracks. The campaign is working to preserve historic horse race gambling, where people bet on videos of races that have already happened.

However, the machines used for this kind of gambling were banned in 2015 for being too similar to slot machines, which are illegal under the Idaho Constitution.

Getting an initiative on the ballot is a complicated process, but it is based in petitioning. There must be at least 56,192 valid signatures collected from residents of at least 18 of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts.

The County Clerk recently finished verifying the existence of those who signed the petitions, and the Secretary of State will verify that the correct amount of signers reside in the array of different legislative districts. The campaign believes they’ve met both of these thresholds.

Voters may have another ballot initiative to weigh in on as well. A campaign to expand Medicaid eligibility for up to 62,000 low-income state residents also plans to turn in their signed petitions next week.

The Secretary of State's office has until mid-July to verify the petitions for both initiatives.

Find reporter Blake Simony on Twitter @BlakeSimony
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