By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports
The Idaho Attorney General’s Office responded Tuesday to the complaint from Idahoans for Open Primaries about the assigned ballot titles for its initiative.
The response comes after the complaint on July 10 from the Idahoans for Open Primaries Coalition and Reclaim Idaho. The groups filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Raúl Labrador, asking the Idaho Supreme Court to repeal and replace his assigned ballot titles to its proposed initiative.
The coalition is proposing a ballot initiative that would end closed primary elections.
Currently, the Idaho Republican Party only allows registered Republicans to vote in its primary. The initiative would also alter general elections by creating a new instant runoff voting system, commonly called ranked choice voting.
The short ballot titles from Labrador’s office would read as follows: “Measure to (1) replace voter selection of party nominees with nonparty blanket primary; (2) require ranked-choice voting for general elections.”
The citizens group argued that the ballot titles show bias and are an effort to make the initiative fail.
In the AG’s response, it argues Labrador followed his obligation to assign ballot titles.
“He selected each word in the short title with care, guided by authoritative sources, relevant case law, and the words that Petitioners themselves have used to describe the initiative,” the response states. “The Attorney General hewed closely to both while avoiding confusion arising from Idaho’s rather recent history with an ‘open primary’ system.”
The petitioners also took issue with the AG’s description of ranked-choice voting, or runoff voting.
“The Attorney General appropriately chose the term ‘ranked-choice voting’ because, as Petitioners admit, that term accurately describes ‘the proposed reform,’” the response states. “It is especially appropriate because that is how Idaho law describes the voting system. The Court need not spend much time with Petitioners’ nitpicking here.”
The response goes on to outline a number of objections to the petitioners’ case, arguing they lack standing, and ultimately asks the Court to dismiss the petition.
The Idaho Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case at 9 a.m. Aug. 7.