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Supreme Court halts Idaho online signatures for initiative

by Keith Ridler
| July 30, 2020 2:37 PM

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The U.S Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that an Idaho group must stop collecting online signatures for an education funding initiative for the November ballot.

The court ruled in favor of Republican Gov. Brad Little’s request that a district court’s order allowing online signatures be stayed until the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals makes a ruling.

The Supreme Court's ruling ends for now Reclaim Idaho’s attempt to collect enough signatures during the coronavirus pandemic for the initiative seeking to raise $170 million for K-12 education. It would raise Idaho’s corporate tax rate and increase taxes on individuals making $250,000 or more annually.

The Republican governor filed an appeal earlier this month after the appeals court rejected his request to stay a district court's order allowing online signatures until the case is decided on its merits.

State officials said Idaho has never allowed electronic signatures for ballot initiatives, and it undermines the election process.

The Supreme Court cited case precedent that states retain leeway to protect the initiative process.

Reclaim Idaho, a group that backs initiatives, in the lawsuit filed last month said Little’s statewide stay-at-home order in late March because of the pandemic didn’t include exceptions for ballot initiative signature-gathering.