The folks who gathered signatures to place an initiative on the November ballot tell us the VOTER GUIDE Voters’ pamphlet produced by Boise City and advocates of the library project contains false statements. Here is their message on the subject.
In an effort to keep you updated on the citizens initiatives that appear on the November ballot in Boise, I wanted to pass along this update, as well as our record of correspondence, on a matter that has lately become a concern of a growing number of Boise voters we have been hearing from.
Last July, Boise Working Together President Adelia Simplot wrote the Boise City Clerk to express our concern that the language imbedded in the draft City of Boise Voters’ Pamphlet was inaccurate and could become a source of misinformation for voters seeking later in the fall to reach decisions on the two ballot initiatives that our citizen petition effort last spring successfully qualified for ballot status.
That language referenced in several places in the draft pamphlet a City-sponsored “Special Question” that would compete with the two already-certified citizens’ propositions on the ballot. That “Special Question” was described as an option destined for the same November ballot that would allow voters to “express directly their support or opposition to the Main Library Project.” (You may recall that such an alternative was advanced as an alternative to the citizens’ propositions by Boise Councilwoman Elaine Clegg and was the subject of much discussion earlier in the summer, about which many of you reported at the time.)
You may also recall that Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane specifically disallowed the appearance of a City-sponsored competing “question” on the November ballot, and that the issue died because of the City’s ineligibility to pursue such an effort.
The language referencing “a question … on this same ballot … by the Boise City Council” took on a life of its own, however, and still appears in the City of Boise Voters’ Guide that citizens began receiving in their mailboxes last Friday, September 20.
I am attaching a copy of the front and third page of the City’s voters’ guide, as well as a copy of our earlier July 31, 2019 communication with the Boise City Clerk’s office rightly pointing out this grievous error while there was still ample time to correct it, before the City’s voters’ guide went to press in September. Also attached is a two-page response to our request from Stoel Rives attorney Wendy J. Olson, also on July 31, 2019, acting in her capacity as retained outside counsel for the Boise City Clerk, refusing such corrections.
Concern from a growing number of voters who have received this new city guide to voting possibly accounts for recent difficulties voters have experienced in attempting to understand these citizens propositions, which are actually quite simple and understandable in their intent.
To reiterate, there is no City of Boise-sponsored “Special Question” or competing ballot proposition on the November ballot, contrary to the assertions made to voters in the newly-appearing City voters’ guide.
The only propositions on the ballot will be the two that were duly earned by Boise Working Together and 7,000+ petition signers — Proposition 1 (the library initiative) and Proposition 2 (the stadium initiative). Voting “yes” will approve those propositions and permit future citizen oversight of these classes of city projects; voting “no” will maintain the status quo, made no change in current law, and not subject city decision-making to any greater citizen consent.
Boise Working Together, a grassroots citizen organization, has always maintained that citizens retain their right to vote any way they see fit on the propositions that they, themselves, qualified for the ballot. We made one promise to the citizens of Boise when we began this initiative process in January 2019 — that we would get them their vote. That we did.
We do, however, believe that all citizens are entitled to correct, accurate, and up-to-date information as they are making their own personal voting decisions in the sanctity of their homes or in the voting booth. It is regrettable that errors in the recently-released decision document should cloud that process. We believe that intelligent voting — whether “yes” or “no” — should rest on a body of the most reliable and accurate information possible, available to all.
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