Opportunity to Advance Election Integrity and Bible Use Legislation


Idaho’s citizens have the opportunity to help advance proposed legislation for the 2017 legislative session.

During the 2016 Republican convention, delegates from throughout the state passed three resolutions advocating specific legislation to be enacted by the Idaho legislature. Now is the time for those delegates and other citizens to remind the Republican legislature that “We the People” have already offered these instructions to our elected representatives — and we expect them to act on those instructions.

The resolution statements which call for legislative action read as follows:

Resolution 2016-10 – Resolution Supporting an Amendment in Driver’s License Procedures:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Idaho Secretary of State and state legislature shall reduce the potential for non-citizens to use an Idaho driver’s license as a form of photo identification to fraudulently obtain an election ballot by (1) requiring all first-time applicants and initial renewal applicants for an Idaho driver’s license to present written proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful immigration status; and (2) revising the printed driver’s license to specify whether the license holder is a U.S. citizen or a lawful immigrant.

Resolution 2016-11 – Resolution Supporting the Amendment of the Idaho Constitution, Article IX, Section 6:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED first, that the 2017 Idaho legislature is requested to consider an amendment to the Idaho Constitution, Article IX, Section 6 to establish that the Bible is expressly permitted for use in Idaho public schools as a reference source, consistent with the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court rulings;

and BE IT ALSO RESOLVED that the proposed amendment might read as follows: “Voluntary use of the Bible by teachers and students is expressly permitted for reference purposes to further the study of literature, comparative religion, English and foreign languages, United States and world history, comparative government, law, philosophy, ethics, world geography, archaeology, music, sociology, and other topics of study where an understanding of the Bible may be useful or relevant. No student will be required to use any religious text for reference purposes if the student or parents of the student object.”

Resolution 2016-12 – Resolution Supporting Implementation of Provisional Voting Procedures:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that (1) The Governor is requested to call a special session of the Idaho legislature to write and pass legislation defining provisional voting procedures for same-day registrants. (2) The legislature is requested to pass and the Governor is requested to sign provisional voting law into effect prior to September 1, 2016. (3) The Idaho Secretary of State and County Clerks are requested to implement provisional voting procedures in Idaho for the 2016 General Election and all subsequent elections. (4) If the Idaho legislature does not pass and the Governor does not sign provisional balloting into law, same-day registration and affidavits in lieu of photo identification should be abolished, since the integrity of Idaho’s voting process cannot be safeguarded without provisional balloting.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that (5) provisional ballot procedures for same-day registrants might read as follows: Definitions: “Provisional Ballot” refers to a ballot provided to a voter who is registering to vote on election day, and whose right to register and to vote in that precinct cannot be immediately determined at the polls or verified at the election office. This will allow the voter to cast a ballot at the polls which shall only be counted if the voter is a qualified elector as provided in 34-104. Procedures: Any same-day first-time registrant or registered voter whose current address does not match the address in the poll book and/or the registered voters database shall vote by provisional ballot at the applicable polling place based on his or her current residence, and his or her registration shall be stapled to the outside of the sealed ballot. The new registrant’s provisional ballot shall only be counted with other provisional ballots after his or her registration is inspected, deemed valid, and entered into the voter registration database by the county clerk or his/her deputy clerks. Once the registration is validated, the registration form shall be separated from the provisional ballot, with the provisional ballot placed with other provisional ballots for later tabulation. Provisional ballots with invalid registrations shall not be opened or counted. Implementation: This bill shall be effective upon signature by the Governor of Idaho. Upon enactment of this bill, the Secretary of State is directed to establish guidelines for county clerks to implement a provisional ballot voting process at the next scheduled election within their counties.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that (6) The Idaho legislature is requested to enact and the Governor is requested to sign into law, provisional balloting procedures for electors who sign an affidavit in lieu of photo identification. This election code shall define the means by which the person’s identity will be verified in lieu of photo identification before the provisional ballot is counted.

The full text of the approved resolutions, which includes the rationale for each action, is contained at this link (see pp. 7-12).

I urge Idaho citizens who support these legislative actions to contact their district legislators to ask them to sponsor, co-sponsor, and vote for the legislation requested. This link will take you to the contact information for your district senator and representatives: https://legislature.idaho.gov/about/contactbydistrict.cfm

The following information will help you articulate the reasons for implementing this legislation:

Resolution 2016-10: Resolution Supporting an Amendment in Driver’s License Procedures – The solution to this problem should be relatively easy to implement. Idaho driver’s license applications already require the applicant to indicate whether he or she is a citizen or lawful resident. However, only lawful residents have to provide written proof of that status. We also need to require all drivers license applicants who claim to be citizens to provide that proof. There is precedent for this, since Idaho already asks for a birth certificate from applicants wishing to obtain a learner’s permit. The actual driver’s license also needs to be changed so it specifies whether the license is held by a U.S. citizen vs. a lawful resident. If these procedures are followed, we will be assured that voters using an Idaho driver’s license as a photo ID to obtain a ballot are U.S. citizens.

Resolution 2016-11: Resolution Supporting the Amendment of the Idaho Constitution, Article IX, Section 6 – The legislature passed similar legislation in 2016 (S. 1342a) with a vote of 31-3-1 in the Senate and 54-15-1 in the House. (The history of S-1342 is summarized at this link: https://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2016/S1342.htm.) The governor vetoed the bill after the session was adjourned, so the legislature could not attempt an over-ride even though 88% of the Senate and 77% of the House had approved the bill (and an over-ride attempt could have been successful). (See this link for the governor’s veto statement: https://gov.idaho.gov/mediacenter/Bills/S1342a.pdf) Some changes the State Affairs Committee made to the initial proposed bill were beneficial (the last sentence), but others expanded the intent of the bill and stripped away the state’s ability to defend the legislation based on U.S. Supreme Court rulings and the precedent of other states’ legislation permitting use of the Bible in public education. The focus of the bill needs to stay on the Bible – not a general term such as “religious texts.” S 1342 was written as clarifying legislation, but the governor’s veto makes it clear he will never sign such legislation into law since he believes the Bible to be a prohibited text under the Idaho Constitution. So, the next step is to put the “clarifying wording” directly into the Constitution to codify that the Bible is not a prohibited sectarian or denominational text.

Resolution 2016-12: Resolution Supporting Implementation of Provisional Voting Procedures – It is obviously too late for the 2016 legislature to address this problem before the 2016 General Election. But the legislators of the 2017 session can take action to either repeal same-day registration and affidavits in lieu of photo identification OR implement provisional ballot procedures to ensure only qualified electors receive a ballot and have their votes counted. This brief video by Catherine Engelbrecht of True the Vote outlines the very real occurrence of election fraud in America and what we can do about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrXwwfKrCY4&feature=youtu.be One necessary step in Idaho is instituting practices to ensure only valid registrants receive a ballot and have their votes counted.

Please call me at (208) 756-3974 if you have any questions about these proposals or how to take action. I was the presenter for all three resolutions at the 2016 GOP convention and have been working with other citizens on these actions for over two years. I hope you will join me in contacting legislators to help set the agenda for the 2017 legislative session.