S-R reporter Parker Howell reports that advocates of changing Idaho’s primary election system to avert a potential legal battle between the state and the Idaho Republican Party have come up with yet another plan. The proposal comes hot on the heels of SB 1244, introduced by a Senate committee Monday, that would require Idaho voters to publicly register their political affiliation and would allow registered independents to publicly choose which party’s ballot to vote on Election Day. The latest proposed bill, which has yet to be introduced in the Senate, would delay implementing new primary election restrictions until July 2009 to satisfy county clerks who expressed concerns about the cost and practicality of SB 1244. The proposed measure is also designed to protect independent voters’ privacy by allowing them to choose privately which ballot to vote. Keith Allred, president of the non-partisan advocacy group The Common Interest, is pushing the idea. How far it goes this year will depend on how fast lawmakers move through remaining legislation, Allred said. He noted that he may be the only person in the Statehouse hoping the Legislature runs through next week.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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