A new plan for to close Idaho’s primary elections and require voters to register by parties could still allow independents to cast a vote in primaries, though party leaders would have the final say on such participation. The chairmen of both the state Republican and Democratic parties say they’d welcome independent voters in their primaries.
The legislation for closed primaries follows a successful lawsuit by the Idaho Republican Party, which convinced a federal judge that Idaho’s open primaries, which let voters pick any party’s ballot, violated its constitutional right to assemble. On Monday, budget writers also agreed to repay some of the GOP’s attorney fees. The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (JFAC) agreed to pay the Idaho Republican Party $100,000 to cover lawyers’ fees for the lawsuit striking down open primaries.
The state owed the GOP those costs as a result of the GOP’s victory. State GOP Executive Director Jonathan Parker said the actual attorney costs were closer to $143,000, but the party and the state government agreed to the smaller payment. The money for the GOP comes from the state general fund.
The closed primary “will also allow independent voters to join the Republican Party at anytime, providing a great opportunity for us to continue to attract and recruit like-minded folks to the cause,” party chairman Norm Semanko said on the party’s website. He said he supports implementing the legislation before next year’s primary.
Full Article: http://www.idahoreporter.com/2011/new-closed-primary-and-voter-registration-plan-introduced/