Saturday the Idaho Republican Party voted to close their primary elections to just those who have registered with the party. Some party officials have also said that they are willing to sue the State of Idaho to enforce that decision. In fact former state senator Rod Beck told the Associated Press that "the closed primary was needed to weed out those who were not true Republicans."
What an outrageous statement to make. Who would have thought that in arguably the most Republican state in the nation, Republicans would be trying to "weed out" people and voters from the party. It's clearly evident that Idaho's Republican Party is fractured.
Idahoans are legendary for their sense of independence and highly protective of their privacy, especially in the voting booth. The Republican Party has voted to abolish that voting booth privacy by demanding party registration and essentially disenfranchising all those who don't wish to have their names on some party list.
An Idaho Mountain Express editorial summed it up nicely.
Closing primaries would force Idahoans to choose between fiercely private independence and voting in primary elections. That's a choice they shouldn't have to make.
The kicker is that even though these Republicans want to reduce primary voting to some exclusive club, they still want the state of Idaho, meaning all the taxpayers, to pay for it.
Idaho Democrats are committed to fighting for the rights of all Idahoans to vote in primary elections and to keep their vote private. If you'd like to help, write a letter to your local newspaper, send an email to your friends and family and if you can, make a contribution to the Idaho Democratic Party to support this fight.
Update 06.20.07 20:31: As noted in the comments, Rod Beck disputes the quote attributed to him by the AP. Also the link to the source of this article is no longer functioning; if and when a new link is found, it will be updated.