GOP to take hard look at closed primaries - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

GOP to take hard look at closed primaries

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Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 8:30 am

No matter what anyone thinks about Idaho's closed Republican primaries, they're here to stay - for a while.

A resolution to reopen the primaries, pitched by the Idaho Association of Clerks and Commissioners at last week's Idaho State Republican Party Convention in Twin Falls, was ditched in favor of an agreement to examine the issue before making any changes.

The Idaho GOP began limiting primary participation to affiliated party members this year. Registered voter participation in the first closed primary in May, at 24 percent, was the lowest recorded turnout in Idaho primary history.

Party members have long had differing opinions on which is the best primary process, and still do.

Gov. Butch Otter has made it clear he favors opening the primaries back up, as has Idaho's Secretary of State, Ben Ysursa.

Kootenai County Clerk Cliff Hayes, a Republican, told The Press that as clerk, he prefers open primaries.

The staff at all of the polling places required special training for the May 15 election.

"I think we did a pretty good job, but I'm not going to say we were 100 percent," Hayes said.

The county has more than 300 poll workers that require training and oversight, he said.

"It's just my opinion as the clerk of elections, it's easier if you have less regulation for the poll workers," Hayes said. "With the open primary you don't have that responsibility and restriction on the rights of the voters."

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • local res posted at 9:58 pm on Wed, Jun 27, 2012.

    local res Posts: 1164

    Before the party bosses make their decision for change, how about they ask us what changes to make or to keep the closed primary or to reopen the system.

  • Tim Herzog posted at 6:55 pm on Wed, Jun 27, 2012.

    Tim Herzog Posts: 359

    This first closed primary for the GOP was probably one of the reasons we had such a low turnout at the polls. I attended the Republican Caucus and didn't even get through two voting sessions without hearing who was picked as our presidential candidate. from the south Idaho because of the time zone difference. Won't do that again!

    Many people, including Republicans, objected to declaring a party affiliation and some just turned around and skipped voting at all. Hopefully, this upcoming general election will see a better turnout because much is at stake nationally.

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