Letter to the Editor

Empowering Idaho Voters: A Call for a Comprehensive State Voter Guide

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

When I head to the polls to vote, I want to know what I will be voting on and who I am voting for. I know you do too. You’ve told me. As Secretary of State and previously as a county clerk, one of the most common inquiries my elections team would receive is, “Where is my voter’s guide?” Many of our neighboring states, including Washington, Oregon, California, Utah, and Arizona, already provide comprehensive voter guides, and it’s time for Idaho to join their ranks.

A recent survey conducted by the Boise State Idaho Policy Institute highlighted this point. When asked, 78% of respondents expressed support for a state voter guide – the highest response for any question on the survey. This demonstrates a shared desire among Idahoans to have access to unbiased and comprehensive information about the choices they face at the ballot box. Importantly, this call for a voter guide transcends party lines.

With a historic election on the horizon, it is imperative that Idaho voters have the necessary tools to make informed choices. It is time for Idaho to produce a comprehensive state voter guide that includes information on candidates. In an era where voters often know their choice for president but remain uncertain about down-ballot races and issues, a state voter guide becomes a crucial tool in fostering an informed electorate.

Idaho currently provides a voter pamphlet during general elections that details any constitutional amendments and voter initiatives and referenda. However, it falls short of offering voters essential information about the candidates running for office.

Currently, in the absence of an impartial state guide, voters are forced to rely on alternative resources, most of which are less than ideal. Media-produced voter guides face declining readership and trust deficits, and partisan guides often present slanted or misleading information. The introduction of pay-to-play guides (soliciting high fees for those candidates who are able and inclined to pay to be included) further complicates the landscape and can leave voters susceptible to manipulation.

It is clear that voters are best served when they hear directly from the candidates themselves. A state voter guide would offer all candidates the same opportunity to share basic information and direct voters to additional resources to learn more.

As Secretary of State, I have made it a priority to support voters and voting in Idaho. A state voter guide is a great way to inform and empower Idahoans. This November, come to the polls prepared rather than finding out what you’re voting on in the voting booth. As we work with our legislative partners, I encourage you to contact your legislators and urge them to support expanding voter information and the creation of a state voter’s guide.

Let’s work together to make voting easy and ensure that every Idahoan can exercise their right with confidence and understanding.