Idahoans for Open Primaries kicks off initiative signature drive in Sandpoint

By Reader Staff

Idahoans for Open Primaries, a coalition of statewide citizen and political advocacy groups, launched its signature drive for a ballot initiative that would bring ranked choice voting to Idaho with a kickoff event Aug. 19 at Evans Brothers Coffee in Sandpoint.

The proposed Open Primaries Initiative would implement an open primary in Idaho, as well as ranked choice voting for general elections throughout the state. Currently, volunteers are collecting signatures to qualify the initiative to be included on the November 2024 ballot.

Representatives of Idahoans for Open Primaries and local volunteer leaders organized the event in Sandpoint, which included remarks from Luke Mayville, representing the IOP coalition. Born in Sandpoint, Mayville co-founded Reclaim Idaho, which led the successful citizens’ ballot initiative effort to expand Medicaid in the state in 2018.   

Mayville expressed excitement at the level of turnout from the community.

“It’s thrilling to see so many people come out from all different parts of the county to participate in the kickoff of this signature drive and work together to give all Idahoans, regardless of party, the right to vote in primary elections,” he said.

Following discussion of the details of the initiative, several attendees offered personal reasons for supporting the petition, including dissatisfaction with a lack of options for independent voters under Idaho’s current closed primary system.

About 70 volunteers attended the event, primarily from Sandpoint and Bonner County.

Signature collection for the initiative was temporarily delayed by a lawsuit brought by IOP against Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador over misleading language in the initial short and long ballot titles for the petition. Signature collection began only after a unanimous decision from the Idaho Supreme Court instructing Labrador to issue a revised title, accepted by the court on Aug. 16.

“I’m just so excited that we are going out. Even with smoke, we are going out to collect our first signatures at the doors in Bonner County, and we’re off to a great start,” said IOP volunteer organizer Abi Sanford.

Signature collection will continue until April 30, 2024. Volunteers plan to canvass events throughout Bonner County until then. In addition, members of the community can sign the petition at Vanderford’s Books (201 Cedar St., in downtown Sandpoint) during business hours.

Learn more about Idahoans for Open Primaries at

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