Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

Last Gasp for Primary Reform

Posted by Adam Graham on March 24, 2007

From the Statesman:

A last-minute bill in the Legislature would limit who can vote in party primary elections.

The bill, engineered by the leader of a good-government group, would prohibit registered Democrats and Republicans from casting votes in each other’s primaries. It would let independents vote in any party’s primary, but they would have to declare which one at the polling place.

The bill has yet to be introduced in this year’s legislative session, which was supposed to end today, but will be extended into next week.

But the bill already is gaining bipartisan support — including the backing of Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, who opposed an earlier closed-primary bill.

The proposal is the latest response to fears that Idaho’s open primary system would not survive if a political party challenged it in court. That fear was bolstered by a March 1 report by Attorney General Lawrence Wasden that said Idaho’s current open primary system could be found unconstitutional. Idaho allows registered voters to vote in whichever primary they choose.

Thus, Idaho would have a “modified” open primary. Apparently, there’s nothing like the threat of litigation for violating the constitutional rights of political parties to light a fire under State government. I’m hopeful that it will pass and look forward to at last becoming a Registered Republican, after working on numerous Republican campaigns, serving on Republican Central Committees in 2 states, and running as a Republican for the State legislature, I believe it’s about time.

Now, of course there will be folks who will declare themselves to be registered Independents so they can influence party nomintaions to get liberal Republicans nominated or to get weak Republicans nominated to lose in the fall. But that’s little different than what would happen under closed primaries. You’ll have dishonest people either way, but most folks who are Strong Republicans or Strong Democrats will rarely declare themselves something else.

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