The Idaho Legislature is considering another primary election bill which, for voters who plan to vote Republican, further complicates this spring’s two primary elections. The new bill, SB 1195, proposes to move the deadline for switching party affiliation prior to voting in the upcoming May 17 primary election. The bill would move the current deadline for affiliating with the Republican Party from March 12 to Feb 12. Those voters who are officially affiliated with a party other than the Republican Party have already missed the Dec. 9, 2015, deadline to affiliate and participate in the Republican presidential primary race. The Idaho Legislature voted last year to separate the Republican presidential primary elections from all of the other statewide and local primary races that are set for May 17 this year.
The Republican Party uses a primary election system to elect the party’s candidates for the general elections in November. Historically the Republican party has selected all of its general election candidates, including presidential candidates, in one election held in May.
When the Legislature voted to separate the presidential primary, lawmakers said they felt the earlier presidential primaries would attract more presidential candidates to campaign in Idaho. Democratic lawmakers opposed the estimated $2 million change because they said Idaho taxpayers were being asked to fund a closed election.
… The bill would also prohibit write-in candidates from participating in the March 8 presidential primary, but not the November general election. “We’ve already got 13 people on there. I don’t think we need any more,” Hurst said, referring to the number of Republican presidential candidates currently on the ballot.