Eye On Boise

'Keep known political operatives from participating in another party's primary'

Senate State Affairs Committee members ask questions about the proposed modified-closed primary election bill, SB 1198, on Wednesday morning. (Betsy Russell)
Senate State Affairs Committee members ask questions about the proposed modified-closed primary election bill, SB 1198, on Wednesday morning. (Betsy Russell)

Senate Minority Leader Edgar Malepeai, D-Pocatello, asked why party-affiliated people would have to switch their party affiliation by the end of the filing period in March or not at all for that year's primary, under the bill. "You may not even know what the roster is at that date," said Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum.

Sen. Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, said, "If you are previously affiliated with a party, hopefully by mid-March you know whether you want to continue to be affiliated with that party. ... By doing it this way, you keep individuals who are known political operatives from participating in the primary of another party if that party chooses to exclude them. And that is a freedom of association right, that I think Judge Winmill is trying to protect. So that's why that suggested date is included in this bill."

Davis said Stennett was assuming a non-affiliated mindset, but that part of the bill deals with those who consciously affiliate themselves with one party or another. "Certainly as a member of the Republican Party, I hope that someday we can get you into the Republican Party," he told Stennett, adding, "You'll need to change your vote on a few things to do that."




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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