Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Independent Voters File Appeal in Idaho Closed Primary Ruling

Picture this:  For 38 years nobody asked you if you had a party preference when you went to vote in the state of Idaho.  Enter a faction of the Idaho Republican Party, which won a court case presided over by Judge B. Lynn Winmill who decided that political parties can dictate who votes in the determining first round of public elections.  Desperate move by historically failing institutions?  You betcha.  And it hits at the core of democracy and citizen involvement.  As political parties and a deadly Party-Uber-Alles mentality grips our nation, independents are fighting back for the good of the country.

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.

Idaho GOP leaders near closed primary deal

March 23, 2011, 12:29 pm
Moscow 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. 



Independent Voters Appeal U.S. District Court Decision Ruling Idaho’s Open Primary System Unconstitutional

Independents take independent steps to defend Idaho open primaries

New York, NY—Independents have taken an appeal from the decision of U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill ruling Idaho’s open primary system unconstitutional.

In August of 2008, a group of 11 independent Idaho voters and two organizations representing independents—theAmerican Independent Movement of Idaho founded by Mitch Campbell of Twin Falls and the New York-based CUIP (d/b/a IndependentVoting.org)—a national association of independents—were granted the right to participate in the case as intervenors-defendants. As such, the independents have standing to appeal.

“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, general counsel for CUIP and co-counsel for the intervenors. “As a result of our intervention 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.”

The notice of appeal was filed by attorney Gary Allen of Boise, who stated: "I look forward to representing independent voters' interests on the appeal. It is important for independents to have a voice in this matter.  In Idaho, the Republican primary is often the only election that counts, and independents who wish to affiliate with the Republican Party for purposes of that primary should be able to do so. Partisan interests should not take precedence when it comes to participation in the democratic process.” 


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