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A Shorter Ballot For You

Ballot initiatives on the make

You'll have more chads to dangle this fall, but not as many as once thought. Of the eight proposed ballot initiatives, only two seem to have much momentum.

First in line is the sales-tax initiative proposed by the Invest in Our Kids' Education Campaign. The well-organized effort turned in nearly 50,000 signatures to the Idaho Secretary of State's Office Tuesday. Their proposed ballot initiative asks Idahoans to increase the sales tax by a penny to increase funding for Idaho public schools. The massive volunteer effort gathered more than 80,000 signatures, said Ryan Hill, a spokesman for the campaign.

Taking a different tack, a ballot initiative to limit the state's use of eminent domain to seize private property paid signature gatherers statewide, but appeared unlikely to hit the mark, according to officials at the Idaho Secretary of State's office. But organizer Laird Maxwell said he'd submitted well over the required amount of signatures to county clerks, and was confident they would be on the ballot. Even less likely to appear on your ballot is a proposal to eradicate all wolves in Idaho "by whatever means necessary." Tim Hurst, the chief deputy in the office of the Idaho Secretary of State, said he wasn't holding his breath for that one either. Tuesday was the deadline for such campaigns to turn in their signatures for validation to their county clerk's office. This year's ballot efforts included more paid signature-gatherers than usual, Hurst said, but with less-than-impressive results.

"Frankly, the results were not great compared to the volunteer efforts," Hurst said. Hill said his group tried the paid-signature-gatherer route briefly, but found it less effective. Less than 1,000 of the nearly 80,000 signatures in their collection came from paid gatherers, he said.

Of course, Idahoans will get to vote to invalidate any form of civil union, same-sex or otherwise, that doesn't include one male marrying one female. You can thank the Idaho Legislature for that; they voted to put the measure on the ballot during this year's session.