Idaho's Weekly Journal of Local & National Commentary Week 2815


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by Free Market Duck

How to Recall Idaho U.S. Senator Larry Craig
(Oct 13, 2007)

Boise, ID – Contrary to Idaho Statesman editor Kevin Reichert, who concluded that Idaho statutes seem to preclude the recall of Idaho U.S. Senators, a brief review of Idaho’s Constitution and recall statutes may show otherwise.

   First, 18 states, including Idaho, allow for a recall of their U.S. Senators.  Each state is different and, for Idaho, one must first read the Idaho Constitution and then the Idaho statutes to understand the hierarchy of law.

   The Idaho Constitution states in Article VI, SUFFRAGE AND ELECTIONS, Section 6.  RECALL OF OFFICERS AUTHORIZED.  ”Every public officer in the state of Idaho, excepting the judicial officers, is subject to recall by the legal voters of the state or of the electoral district from which he is elected.  The legislature shall pass the necessary laws to carry this provision into effect.”

   It is important to understand that the Idaho Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land (subordinate only to the U.S. Constitution) and, therefore, legally trumps, or guides, all Idaho statutes.

   Note that Art. VI, Sect 6, states that “Every public officer in the state of Idaho” is subject to recall.  Idaho’s U.S. Congressmen are public officers in, of, for, and from the state of Idaho.  They are not federally elected or appointed such as the Secretary of Defense.  They are politicians elected by and representing Idahoans – not Georgians or Californians – and they run in special created districts in Idaho.  Idaho U.S. Representative Bill Sali represents voters in Legislative District 1 and Mike Simpson represents voters in Legislative District 2.  Idaho’s two U.S. Senators represent a special legislative district that includes the entire state of Idaho to comply with the U.S. Constitution.  Nor does Art. VI, Sect 6, imply that “every public officer in the state of Idaho” refers to the location where Idaho’s U.S. Congressmen travel or work, Washington DC.  The interpretation is one of state election or representation, not work location.

   Therefore, Article VI, Section 6, states that (1) all Idaho public officers, except judges, can be recalled by the voters of the state, or of electoral districts, and (2) the Idaho state legislature shall pass – this is not a choice, shall means mandatory – the necessary laws to carry this provision into effect.

   The Idaho legislature passed Recall Statute 34-1701, OFFICERS SUBJECT TO RECALL.  “The following public officers, whether holding their elective office by election or appointment, and none other, are subject to recall:

(1) State officers:

a)     The governor, lieutenant-governor, secretary of state, state controller, state treasurer, attorney general, and superintendent of public instruction;

b)     Members of the state senate, and members of the state house of representatives.

(2) County officers:

a)     The members of the board of county commissioners, sheriff, treasurer, assessor, prosecuting attorney, clerk of the district court, and coroner.

(3) City officers:

a)     The mayor;

b)     Members of the city council.

(4) Special district elected officers for whom recall procedure is not otherwise provided by law.”

   Idaho’s U.S. Congressmen must fall into 34-1701 (4) above since they are not exempt as judges in Art. VI, Sect. 6 of the Idaho Constitution and they are not provided for in 34-1701 (1) or (2) or (3) but must be accounted for since the Idaho Constitution says, “every public officer in the state of Idaho” is subject to recall.

   Therefore, under Idaho Constitution, Article VI, Section 6, which mandates Idaho Statute 34-1701 (4), Idaho voters can recall U.S. Senator Larry Craig.


1. Time requirement: 60 days.

2. Signatures of 50% of Idaho voters registered in Craig’s last election. -- FM Duck

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