Republican Lawerence Denney, debating Democratic opponent Holli Woodings today at the City Club of Boise, was asked if he now regrets supporting the closed primary, as he runs for Secretary of State, a position responsible for promoting voter turnout.
“I do not regret having supported the closed primary,” Denney said. “There’s kind of a misnomer that the primary is an election. It’s not an election. It’s a nomination process. It should not be, in my opinion, it should not be run by the state government but by the parties themselves, because we are selecting our candidates. I’ve had people tell me that we are suppressing the vote by having a closed primary. Well I think it’s important that Republicans nominate Republican candidates and that Democrats nominate the Democratic candidates, and I think there could be a process that’s a lot better than what we’re doing now. It’s run as an election … but it’s really not, it’s a nomination.”
Woodings responded, “As secretary of state I will oppose any effort that puts an additional barrier between the citizens of Idaho and their ballot, and this is just one example of putting additional barriers, and this is one example of … depressing voter turnout.” She noted that turnout in the primary in Kootenai County was just 16 percent. “That’s 16 percent making the decisions for the people of their entire legislative district and the state and that is just wrong,” she said. “I will oppose those efforts, and any other efforts such as photo ID, fingerprinting or any other efforts that will place barriers between people and the ballot.”