Idaho Democratic Party Asks Secretary of State to Revise Misleading Ad Campaign

We have had no response from Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney regarding our request to revise a publicly-funded billboard campaign that is misleading and confusing Idaho voters.

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To draw attention to this important public issue, the Idaho Democratic Party released the following today:

IDP Asks Secretary of State to Revise Misleading Ad Campaign

Boise, Idaho–The Idaho Secretary of State Office is misleading and confusing Idaho voters with a taxpayer-funded advertising campaign about Idaho’s presidential election process. The Idaho Democratic Party has asked the secretary of state to correct this campaign, which fails to inform Idaho voters that only Republican and Constitution parties are participating in the state-funded primary election on March 8. To select the Democratic Presidential candidate, voters will attend county caucuses on March 22.

The IDP asked the secretary of state to respond to our request by Monday. No response has arrived. The IDP is asking the press and the public to help get the word out to counteract any confusion caused by the misleading advertising campaign.

The following is a letter from IDP Chairman Bert Marley to the Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney regarding the misleading and confusing ad campaign:

February 12, 2016

Idaho Democratic Party
PO Box 445
Boise, ID 83701

Hon. Lawerence Denney
 Secretary of State
State of Idaho
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, ID 83720-0080

Dear Secretary Denney,

The Idaho Democratic Party has become aware of a misleading and inaccurate advertising campaign apparently under the initiative of your office and funded by Idaho taxpayers. Because of the approaching primary election and caucus meetings, we ask that you immediately take action to inform Idaho voters that only the Constitution and Republican parties are participating in the March 8th Presidential primary election; and that Democrats may participate in the statewide county caucuses on March 22nd.

We are aware of at least three billboards advertising the March 8, 2016 presidential primary election. As your office is aware, this election is in fact not a full primary election. Rather, it only has two political parties participating: the Constitution Party and the Republican Party. Therefore, your advertising campaign is misleading and inaccurate and likely to cause much confusion for voters seeking to participate in the primary or those voters who associate with any other parties.

Voters seeking to vote in the Constitution or Republican party primaries are likely to be delayed because of confusion by voters and poll workers who mistakenly believe they can vote for a Democratic candidate on March 8th. There are more than 200,000 Idaho voters who consistently do not vote for Constitution or Republican Party candidates. That is a full 30 percent of Idaho voters who might be confused by your advertising campaign. These voters non-Constitutional or non-Republican party members may mistakenly cast a ballot in those parties’ primary.

As someone whose time in the Idaho Legislature included careful attention to making sure only Republicans can participate in Republican primaries, I am certain that you will be eager to avoid this outcome. The Idaho Democratic Party asks that the Idaho Secretary of State Office immediately stop the misleading and confusing advertising campaign and take the following corrective action:

1) Your office provide details as to the location of each billboards currently displaying the misleading and inaccurate information

2) Your office provide details as to all other advertising currently running or planned in the future displaying the misleading and inaccurate information

3) Revise the billboard and all other advertising content to clearly state “ONLY the Republican and Constitution Parties will hold presidential primaries on March 8”;

4) Add to the billboard and all other advertising content “the Idaho Democratic Party will hold statewide county caucuses on March 22” and include the link to the Idaho Democratic Party website that invites everyone to participate (as is currently the status of the idahovotes.gov web site); and

5) No billboard or other advertising content with the corrected information be removed or otherwise changed until after the Democratic Party statewide county caucuses on March 22nd.

We respectfully ask that you correct this misleading and confusing advertising campaign immediately. We are eager to assist you in more accurately informing Idaho voters about the presidential process in Idaho. We expect to hear from you Monday by 5:00pm.

Sincerely,

Bert Marley

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