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AG rewrites initiative titles following Supreme Court order

Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador stands with a handheld microphone on a stage wearing a jacket and dress shirt
Gage Skidmore
Flickr Creative Commons

Attorney General Raúl Labrador submitted revised language for a new version of a ballot initiative that would implement ranked choice voting for Idaho’s primaries. On Thursday, the Idaho Supreme Court found the AG’s office had “failed to substantially comply” with state law when drafting its initial descriptions of the initiative.

The office is responsible for crafting language for any proposed initiative that could be on a ballot. Labrador’s office was ordered to rewrite the ballot descriptions with terms commonly used to describe the proposed measure.

Former Idaho attorney general, Jim Jones has been working for Reclaim Idaho and Veterans for Idaho Voters on the Open Primaries Initiative. He said the updated language is better than it was in the initial draft, but the language is still lacking.

“It still doesn't get to the nub of the thing, that we're doing away with closed primaries,” he said. “That is essential to have in the titles and they have failed to do it.”

In the new version, Labrador’s office changed the words “nonparty blanket primary” to “top-four primary.” The short title now reads: “Measure to (1) replace voter selection of party nominees with a top-four primary; (2) require a ranked-choice voting system for general elections.”

The revised, longer title explains “A vote for an eliminated candidate will transfer to the voter’s next-highest—ranked active candidate. The candidate with the most votes in the final round wins.”

Once the revised titles are approved by the Idaho Supreme Court and certified by the Secretary of State, Reclaim Idaho will have by the end of April 2024 to gather enough signatures to put the initiative on the ballot.

I'm convinced they're going to get their signatures and it's going to be placed on the ballot, but then the fighting will start,” Jones said.

You can read the new submitted titles here.

As the Canyon County reporter, I cover the Latina/o/x communities and agricultural hub of the Treasure Valley. I’m super invested in local journalism and social equity, and very grateful to be working in Idaho.

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