Appeal Filed in Closed Primary Ruling
POSTED BY GEORGE PRENTICE ON WED, MAR 23, 2011 AT 2:07 PM
Boise Weekly/City Desk
A group of independent Idaho voters have filed an appeal, challenging a federal judge's decision to throw out Idaho's open primary system.
"A third of Idaho voters have lost their right to vote in the state's primaries as a result of this decision," said Harry Kresky, co-counsel for a group calling itself the American Independent Movement of Idaho. "As a result of our invention in the litigation, independents are able to take the necessary legal steps to protect their interests, regardless of what the State of Idaho decides to do in the courts or in the legislature in response to the decision."
On March 2, U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill ruled against the open primary system, saying past primaries were influenced by crossover voting by Democrats and Independents.
Meanwhile, Republican Idaho legislators are working behind closed doors this week, crafting new procedures that would limit GOP primaries to only registered Republicans. House Speaker Lawerence Denney said he expected a bill to surface by Friday. One sticking point will be to determine how long a voter must prove party registration before being eligible to participate in a primary. One proposal suggests two months. Another suggests 180 days.
March 23, 2011, 12:29 pmMoscow Pullman Daily News
BOISE — As Republicans near a legislative deal to close their primary elections, an independent voter group is appealing a federal court ruling from earlier this month that threw out the 38-year-old open primary law in Idaho.
The New York-based Committee for a United Independent Party announced on Wednesday it was lodging an appeal of the decision made by U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill.
Gary Allen, the lawyer in Boise for the group, said the Republican primary in Idaho is often the only election that counts, so independents should be able to participate.
Idaho GOP conservatives aim to limit who can vote in their primary because they suspect crossover voting has produced GOP candidates who fail to hew closely enough to the party line.
House Speaker Lawerence Denney expects a bill to close the primary to be introduced by Friday.