Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Idaho Legislature Considers Bill to Require Party Identification

IDAHO INDEPENDENTS FIGHT TO MAINTAIN OPEN PRIMARIES
The Republican Party’s legal efforts to close its primary elections to those outside its ranks has met resistance both from the state attorney general of its own party and an unlikely coalition of independents who say they want voting influence in the state’s dominant political organization. Read more here

  • Idaho Democrats blast lawmakers for $100,000 payment to GOP for closed primary attorney fees (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, The Republic) Democratic Party leaders are unhappy with legislative budget writers' decision this week to pay the state Republican Party $100,000 for attorney fees after the state lost a GOP-led lawsuit in federal court over Idaho's open primary. NOTE: This AP article ran widely in local papers
  • Idaho Bill for Party Registration (Ballot Access News) On March 28, the Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee introduced SB 1198. Currently, Idaho voter registration forms do not ask voters to choose a party. The bill provides that in the future, voter registration forms will include a place for voters to choose a party, or to choose “unaffiliated” status. The bill also says that sign-in sheets at the May 2012 primary will include a party membership checkbox. Starting in 2012, each qualified party would determine for itself whether or not to let independent voters vote in its primary.
  • New closed primary and voter registration plan introduced (By Brad Iverson-Long, Idaho Reporter.com) The new plan was introduced Monday in the Senate State Affairs Committee. For next year’s primaries, it would instruct county clerks to add check off boxes to their poll book to ask all current registered voters to declare a party affiliation, which would include being unaffiliated. Party registration would also become part of new voter registration cards.
  • Independents unwelcome? (Idaho Mountain Express) Idahoans of independent mind, who hate being labeled, pigeonholed or stereotyped, are likely to be shocked when they go to vote in upcoming primary elections.
  • Thomas D. Elias: GOP extremists embark on path of self-destruction (By Thomas D. Elias, LA Daily News) The latest self-destructive move came at the party's late-winter state convention, where activist delegates voted to stage an end-run around the "top-two" open primary election system that now allows all voters to cast ballots for any candidates they like, regardless of party. That system gets its first large scale test in the statewide primary set for next spring.

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