Two of the four Republican candidates for state superintendent of schools didn’t cast votes in the state’s first closed GOP primary two years ago, Idaho Education News reports, and one of the four – Sherri Ybarra – didn’t vote in the 2012 general election in which Idaho voters resoundingly rejected the controversial “Students Come First” school reform laws.
Idaho EdNews reports that Ybarra voted only on the unaffiliated ballot in the 2012 primary, and Jensen didn’t vote at all in that primary, despite a long voting history; he told the news outlet he sat that one out because he didn’t support the idea of closing the primary. “I just think everyone should have an opportunity to vote in the primary election,” Jensen told Idaho Education News today. While he describes himself as politically conservative, Jensen says he avoided aligning with a party for years, in part because his wife has served for 23 years on the American Falls City Council, a nonpartisan post. “We have just always remained nonpartisan in our political endeavors.”
Ybarra offered no explanation for her failure to vote in the 2012 general election, telling Idaho EdNews in an emailed statement, “I am a Republican, with Republican values, since my childhood. The state superintendent of public Instruction serves all students, all parents, and all stakeholders, regardless of when a box is ‘checked.’ Ronald Reagan explained it best: ‘Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.’” You can read the full report here, from reporters Jennifer Swindell, Kevin Richert and Clark Corbin.