Monday's late afternoon downpour didn’t stop volunteers from passing hundreds of boxes hand-over-hand all the way to Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa’s office at the Statehouse. Inside the boxes were more than 72,000 signatures for each of three bills from Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna.
A group dubbed Idahoans for Responsible Education Reform set out to obtain 47,432 verified signatures to put before voters the three so-called "Luna laws" dramatically revamping the state education system that were recently signed into law by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.
Cheers ran down the line of volunteers passing the boxes labeled with the counties they came from and the number of petitions inside.
“Canyon County coming up next,” shouted Mike Hranac, one of the volunteers. “We’re a vocal majority, not a silent minority.”
After all the boxes had been stacked in a conference room next to Ysursa’s office, the volunteers gathered on the second floor of the Capitol. Referendum leaders spoke behind a podium that read, “Over 210,000 signatures... Idaho says NO,” as volunteers' applause echoed through the rotunda.
Ysursa said it’s always interesting to watch the people exercise their right to a referendum and that his office will make the petition count official in the next couple of days.