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Idaho Republican Party May Pass Bylaw Closing Primary

Published on May 30, 2007, by in General.

The Idaho Republican Party Central Committee meets June 2 in Burley, Idaho. On the agenda is a proposal to pass a party bylaw, saying only members of the party may vote in its primary. If this bylaw proposal passes, the party would then bring a lawsuit to enforce it.

8 Responses

  1. Tom Yager

    Is there registration by party in Idaho?

  2. Richard

    No, so the Republicans would need to figure out some way to decide who is a party member.

  3. This sounds similar to the way that the local unit of the Virginia Republican Party precipitated Miller v. Brown, its suit against the state-mandated open primary, which is now on appeal before the 4th Circuit.

    The local unit– with the state GOP’s approval– passed a bylaw that anyone who had voted in a Democratic primary in the previous five years could not vote in the Republican primary. However, a voter who signed an “oath of disaffiliation” could go ahead and receive a GOP ballot on primary day. If such a voter later broke his pledge by voting in a Democratic primary, he would indeed be banned from GOP primaries for five years.

    This, of course, conflicted with Virginia law, as the above-mentioned party bylaw would conflict with Idaho law.

    Idaho, unlike Virginia, however, has “open primary, private choice.” So there is no record of which voters participated in which primaries. The only possibility I can see would be for the Idaho Republicans to somehow identify the people that the party will allow to vote in its primaries and to furnish that list to the poll workers.

    [Richard: Are Idaho voters' party choices in presidential primaries publicly recorded? If so, that might be a way to identify Republican voters.]

  4. On reflection: Under the current setup in Idaho, there would be no way for the Republicans to keep non-Republicans from voting in their primaries. Each voter chooses a party in the secrecy of the voting booth.

    Obviously, the sole purpose of the proposed bylaw is to enable the GOP to file suit against Idaho’s open-primary law.

  5. rj

    Can someone tell me why closed party primaries are paid for by state governments? Every state party that wants a closed primary should have to pay for it themselves.

  6. Timm Knibbs

    Party’s should be able to determine who will choose their nominees. The state should pay for all parties to have a primary or for no party have a primary, but not for some and not others.

  7. In 1995, a federal court held in an Arkansas case that, when the state requires parties to nominate by primary, the state must pay the costs of those primaries. Republican Party v. Faulkner County

  8. I have always voted republican and I don’t join clubs. If I’m out of voting in the primary by a bunch of uppity snobs I’ll start voting for democrats. After putting up with Kempthorne I was tempted anyway.

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