By R. Keith Roark, Idaho State Democratic Party Chairman
The Idaho Democratic Party believes strongly that all voters, Democrats, Republicans and Independents should be able to participate in all taxpayer financed elections, primary and general. The lawsuit filed last week by the Idaho Republican Party is an arrogant slap in the face of all Idaho voters who consider themselves independent. The Idaho Republican Party has now officially announced its “choice to implement closed primary elections.”
There are three features of this Idaho Republican Party “choice” that all Idaho voters and taxpayers should condemn. First, Idaho ’s primary elections are paid for by all Idaho taxpayers, including those who consider themselves independent voters. The Idaho Republican Party lawsuit, if successful, will force independent voters to pay for elections in which they are not allowed to participate.
Secondly, the Idaho Legislature, controlled overwhelmingly by Republicans, refused to close the primary election to independent voters. Therefore, the Idaho Republican Party is asking a federal court to overrule our elected legislators and close primary elections to independent voters. Republican criticism of “activist” judges is, obviously, nothing more than pure hypocrisy.
Thirdly, the Idaho Republican Party lawsuit against a Republican Idaho Secretary of State will force Idaho ’s taxpayers to foot the bill for defending our open primary system at a time when we don’t have the money to maintain highways or properly fund education.
It is a clear sign of how arrogant Republicans in this state have become when the Idaho Republican Party sues a Republican Secretary of State in order to have a federal court overrule our elected State Legislature and exclude independent voters from taxpayer financed primary elections while Idaho taxpayers, including independent voters, foot the bill for such chicanery.
The Idaho Democratic Party pays for its presidential caucuses and does not accept one dime from the taxpayer for those events. If the Idaho Republican Party wants to close its primary elections then it should not expect taxpayers to foot the bill. The Idaho Democratic Party believes that all voters should be able to participate in any election financed by the taxpayers of this state.