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US Supreme Court stays lower court ruling allowing modification of Idaho ballot initiatives during COVID pandemic
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US Supreme Court stays lower court ruling allowing modification of Idaho ballot initiatives during COVID pandemic

The Supreme Court granted a stay to the State of Idaho Thursday after a grassroots group successfully argued in June that ballot initiative requirements should be modified due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Reclaim Idaho brought suit against the Idaho Governor Brad Little and Secretary of State Lawrence Denney, contending that state officials must change the ballot initiative requirements because organizers are physically unsafe collecting signatures. On June 23, a US District Court stated that Idaho must allow for the collection of online signatures or place the group’s initiative on the ballot.

The group’s K-12 initiative requires the government to raise over $170 million for Idaho’s public grade schools and high schools. The money would be used to increase teacher pay, reducing class sizes, purchasing classroom materials, and expanding arts and technical opportunities for students. Thursday’s ruling finds that the lower court determination must be halted because the Supreme Court is likely to grant cert, the State of Idaho has a fair prospect of winning on appeal, and irreparable harm will be suffered absent a stay.

Governor Brad Little expressed approval of the ruling, commenting, “It is important that initiatives follow the law set by the Idaho Legislature so we can ensure those initiatives that get on the ballot are legitimate and have significant support throughout Idaho.