Adam’s Blog

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

Statesman: Hold Off on Primary Reform

Posted by Adam Graham on March 27, 2007

The Idaho Statesman Editorial board has a self-interested editorial arguing against Primary reform:

Under Senate Bill 1244, Republicans and Democrats would have to register for the first time. Registered party members would be allowed only to vote in their party’s primary — preventing, as Republicans like to allege, mischievous Democrats from crossing over to sabotage a GOP primary. Declared independents could still vote in a primary, but they would have to declare which primary they voted in. Their choice would become public record.

We can think of a lot of people who may be unwilling to vote under those conditions — such as public employees, members of the judiciary or, for that matter, journalists. Not to mention the “none-of-your-danged-business” independents.

All independents would have to barter some of their right to privacy in order to exercise their right to vote.

All voters barter some of their privacy in order to vote already. Party registration would probably limit everybody’s exposure to ads and calls. I got calls from Jerry Brady, literature from Phyllis King and Jim Hansen during the last campaign. I doubt I would have under this plan. Registered Independents would have less GOTV efforts targeted at them, particularly during the primary.

I think what has to carry weight is the Statesman losing influence. Many of the gyrating liberal and Independent voters who do as their masters as the Statesman bid them are going to be less likely to show up.

However, as the Idahoan pointed out reporters don’t like the possibility of having to declare liberal allegiances. (I’d wonder what party Dan Popkey would register as?) However, reporters and those who would rather not declare can leave choosing party nominees to the members of that party and vote for the best man in the general election. If members of a party cannot choose their nominee, then we might as well abolish political parties and have an open primary where the top two vote getters face off in the Fall, because what we have now is a mockery of the First Amendment’s freedom of association and if something’s not done, the state will almost certainly be forced to change after a lawsuit from the Republican Party of Idaho.

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