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NATIONAL POLITICS & POLICY | Idaho U.S. Senate Candidate Changes Name to Pro-Life; Bill To Add Qualifier Passes Senate

NATIONAL POLITICS & POLICY | Idaho U.S. Senate Candidate Changes Name to Pro-Life; Bill To Add Qualifier Passes Senate
[March 25, 2008]

An Idaho candidate for the U.S. Senate has legally changed his name to Pro-Life, the AP/CBS News reports. The man attempted to appear on a 2006 ballot as Marvin Pro-Life Richardson when he unsuccessfully ran for governor, but the state's policy prohibits slogans from appearing on the ballot. However, officials in the Idaho Office of the Secretary of State have said they have no choice but to allow Pro-Life to be on the 2008 ballot because it is now the candidate's full legal name (AP/CBS News, 3/18).

Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa (R) at a state Senate committee hearing Monday advocated for legislation (S 1514) that would require candidates who change their name to a political slogan to have a parenthetical note after the name on the ballot that states "A person formerly known as ..." Ysursa noted that other states have sought to remove slogan-names from the ballot, adding that the Idaho Supreme Court has ruled that the "ballot is not to be used to try to express a particularized political message." Ysursa said including Pro-Life on the ballot could cause some voters to be confused and vote for both Pro-Life and the candidate of their choice. The measure passed the Senate by a 33-0 vote Tuesday and is headed to the House.

Pro-Life, who is running for the seat of retiring Sen. Larry Craig (R), said the qualifier measure is being pushed by Lt. Gov. Jim Risch (R), who also opposes abortion rights and is running for the seat. "It's pretty stupid, really, to say that a voter doesn't know what he's doing," Pro-Life said. Risch said that he does not have "input on this matter" and is referring questions to the Legislature.

Thirteen candidates are running for the U.S. Senate seat -- eight Republicans, two Democrats, one Libertarian and two independents (Russell, Spokane Spokesman-Review, 3/25). Pro-Life has said he will run for the highest state office as an independent every two years and will advocate murder charges for physicians who perform abortion, as well as for women who undergo the procedure (AP/CBS News, 3/18).