Idaho board OKs legal fees in lost ballot initiative case

Idaho’s Partial Vote Recount Validates 2020 Election Tallies
Otto Kitsinger

FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2020, file photo, voters fill out their ballots at O'Connor Field House in Caldwell, Idaho. Idaho officials say a partial recount of ballots cast during the last presidential election validates the accuracy of the results despite manipulation claims by former President Donald Trump and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell. The Idaho secretary of state's office said Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2021, that a hand inspection of ballots in Camas and Butte counties found margins of error of less than 1%.

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — State officials on Tuesday took an initial step to pay $152,000 in legal fees to the winning side after Idaho lost a court challenge to a new law making it harder for voters to get initiatives on the ballot.

The Idaho Board of Examiners comprised of Republican Gov. Brad Little and two other statewide elected officials voted to send the bill to the Constitutional Defense Council for a final OK.

Republican lawmakers earlier this year approved the initiative measure with no Democratic support. Little then signed into law the measure requiring signature-gatherers to get 6% of registered voters in each of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts in 18 months.

The Idaho Supreme Court in August rejected the law, saying the legislation was so restrictive it violated the state’s constitution. It also ordered the state to pay Reclaim Idaho’s attorney fees.

That ruling caused the ballot initiative process to revert to requiring signatures from 6% of registered voters in each of 18 legislative districts in 18 months.

The Constitutional Defense Fund, created in 1995 to defend Idaho’s sovereignty, has paid out more than $3 million in lost court battles over the years and has a current balance of just under $1.3 million.