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Idaho Election Billboards Criticized as Confusing

This billboard has drawn criticism from the Idaho Democratic Party because it omits information about the March 22 Democratic primary. (Idaho Democratic Party)
This billboard has drawn criticism from the Idaho Democratic Party because it omits information about the March 22 Democratic primary. (Idaho Democratic Party)
February 18, 2016

BOISE, Idaho – The Idaho Democratic Party is crying foul, because 22 billboards put up across the state by the Secretary of State's office only mentions the March 8 presidential primary, which is solely for the Republican and Constitution parties.

The signs do not list the March 22 Democratic Party caucus, but do give the website address Idahovotes.org, which has information on both dates.

Dean Ferguson, communications director for the Democrats, calls the billboards "misleading and confusing."

"It's going to make people so upset when they show up at the March 8th primary and try to vote for a Democrat, or they discover that they can't vote in the Republican primary contest because they don't want to be registered as a Republican," he points out.

Jim Mairs, a spokesman for Secretary of State Lawerence Denney, defends the wording of the signs, noting that his office only has jurisdiction over the presidential primary not the caucus.

Last year, when the state established the primary on March 8, only the Republican and Constitution parties decided to take part. The Democrats opted to continue their tradition of presiding over their own caucuses.

The Secretary of State's website also promotes both events. Nonetheless, Ferguson wants the billboards changed.

"We want them to revise their advertising campaign so that it actually achieves its purpose, which is to let the voters know about how they can successfully participate in the presidential election year," he states.

According to the website Ballotpedia, Democrats made up about a third of the Idaho electorate in 2012.


Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - ID