If there is an issue that you think should become a law, you don’t have to wait until your state legislature agrees with you. You can let the voters decide by filing a ballot initiative. Your direct action can qualify your measure to be on the ballot in the next statewide election.
Last updated on: December 9, 2020
The following is a brief overview of the initiative process in the state of Idaho. For more details regarding the initiative process, please visit the Idaho Secretary of State website.
Filing a Petition at the State Level
Idaho allows statutory initiatives, but doesn’t allow constitutional amendment initiatives. To file an initiative in Idaho, it must be filed along with twenty valid voter’s signatures from one county. The attorney general will decide whether or not to approve it within twenty days.
Following the attorney general’s approval, the petitioner has fifteen days to file the initiative with the Secretary of State. Within ten days, the attorney general will provide ballot titles, and the Secretary of State will return the final petition.
Time Limits and Signature Requirements
Petitioners have either eighteen months or until April 30 of the election year to circulate their petition. The initiative must be filed no later than four months before the election.
The petition requires a number of signatures equal to at least 6% of qualified voters in the previous general election. The signatures must also come from at least 18 of the legislative districts in the state.
Idaho Statutes also require that circulators are residents of the state.
Initiatives in Idaho Cities and Counties
Idaho Statutes defines the initiative procedure for cities in Section 34-1801B. The rules are similar to the rules at the state level. In cities, the city attorney acts as the attorney general and the city clerk acts as the secretary of state. For more specific rules regarding initiatives in Idaho cities, please visit the Idaho Statutes.
Similarly, Idaho Statutes defines the initiative procedure for counties in Section 34-1801C. Again, the rules are very similar to the rules at the state level. In counties, the county prosecuting attorney acts as the attorney general. The county clerk acts as the secretary of state. For more specific rules regarding initiatives in Idaho cities, please visit the Idaho Statutes.