Idaho Advocacy Group Sues To Get More Time For Ballot Measure Signature Gathering

Amy Pratt personally collected more than 1,000 signatures to help get Proposition 2 on the ballot. It's the first time she's been politically active and she has no plans of stopping. CREDIT: JAMES DAWSON / BSPR
File photo. Amy Pratt personally collected more than 1,000 signatures to help get medicaid expansion Proposition 2 on Idaho's 2018 ballot. It's the first time she's been politically active and she has no plans of stopping. CREDIT: James Dawson / BSPR

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An Idaho group that hopes to put a public school funding initiative on the November ballot is asking a federal judge for extra time to collect signatures.

“What we’re calling for is an extension of the deadline for collecting ballot initiative signatures and also for the permission to collect signatures online,” Reclaim Idaho’s Luke Mayville said.

Idaho’s signature gathering window was interrupted in mid-March due to coronavirus restrictions. Mayville says Gov. Brad Little made the right decision to stop in-person signature gathering, but he says it took 48 days away from his group’s time to solicit signatures.

“Our lawsuit argues, very convincingly, that the governor and the secretary of state violated our First Amendment rights by not providing safe means for us to collect signatures during this pandemic,” Mayville said.

Reclaim Idaho wants the state to spend an additional $170 million for public schools. The initiative would raise that money by setting Idaho’s corporate tax rate at eight-percent and increasing the state’s marginal tax rate for people who make more than $250,000 a year.

Mayville hopes the group will be allowed to argue its case by late June, in hopes that it can collect signatures the latter half of the summer.

The Idaho attorney general’s office declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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