Idaho Will Hold its Second Presidential Primary for a Party Other than the Republican and Democratic Parties

Three presidential candidates have filed to be on the Idaho Constitution Party’s presidential primary ballot: Scott Copeland, Patrick Anthony Ockander, and J. R. Myers. They each paid $1,000 to be on the ballot. The primary will be March 8. Past Idaho presidential primaries were always in May, and no party had presidential primaries in Idaho in 2012; they used caucuses.

This will be the second minor party presidential primary in Idaho history. Idaho did not have presidential primaries until 1976, and the state won’t print up primary ballots for parties unless they have at least two candidates for any particular office. In 1976 the American Party had a presidential primary. The vote was: John Rarick 409; Thomas Anderson 261; uncommitted 92. Despite the outcome, the party nominated Lester Maddox. Thanks to Floyd Whitley for the news, and thanks to Michael for a reminder about 1976.


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Idaho Will Hold its Second Presidential Primary for a Party Other than the Republican and Democratic Parties — 14 Comments

  1. Note: In 1976, there were three parties holding primaries for president, D, R, and American. John Rarick vs Tom Anderson. There were about 700 votes cast, and Rarick won with about 450 to 250. I don’t have any exact information.

  2. The Constitution Party had 1,922 registered members in November 2014 in Idaho, so the presidential primary will probably have more than 500 votes cast. No one can vote in the Constitution Party’s Idaho primary except registered party members.

  3. Idaho permits unaffiliated voters to affiliate with a party on election day.

    In addition, a party may selectively open their primary up to unaffiliated voters, or voters of selected parties.

    Latest registration:

    Unaffiliated: 49.5%
    Republican: 40.2%
    Democratic: 8.6$
    Libertarian: 0.6%
    Constitution: 0.3%

  4. @ David:

    “So how much will this primary cost taxpayers for around 500 votes statewide?”

    Actually, nothing.

    The reason that is true is because the Republicans (who control the state government with about 80% in the Legislature) pushed this taxpayer funded primary through, and it went into law 3 July 2015. That will cost the taxpayers–with or without the Constitution Party’s participation–the exact same thing.

    Legislature (i.e. Republicans) estimate that the cost of THEIR primary law will be about $2 million…they figured that no other party would opt in…and certainly not the CP. When the Republicans created that taxpayer funded primary, the national Constitution Party was not even on their scopes. (As to why that is so, that’s another subject altogether.)

    These same Idaho Republicans previously changed the law for 2012 to a caucus, waxing long under egalitarian claims at that time, huckstering a scheme that was really meant to shoe-in their establishment guy, Romney. That backfired miserably. It was a charlie foxtrot effort to cash in on “Super Tuesday”. That was evident to all.

    So, they–not the Constitution Party–decided to move a taxpayer funded primary in 2016. CP-Idaho has zero say at that point.

    Actually, for background, in December 2014 at our final CP-Idaho quarterly conference call, CP-Idaho had already developed a party caucus mail-in ballot, which we were prepared to do at an approximate cost to the party of $5000 to $7000. Because we believe that our registered voters deserve a say in the national nomination process.

    We then discovered, upon the Idaho Legislature convening in January 2015, that the Republicans intended to force taxpayers to pay for their presidential primary. We tabled our mail-in caucus design and waited to see the outcome. That primary measure SB 1066 passed, naturally.

    But the Republicans could not pass it without a proviso that any ballot qualified party can opt in. Otherwise, it would be what it actually was…the use of public monies a single partisan outfit.

    We were confronted with a choice. We could go with our mail-in caucus ballot plan, spend money we did not have…or at least challenge the monopolistic use of the public funded primary by the Republicans.

    We opted to run, maybe just to poke the Republicans in the eye…because they believed they would get away with SOLE use of the primary at taxpayer expense. There, we proved them wrong.

    Our mail-in caucus ballot designs were not wasted, incidentally. We sent the designs to CP-West Virginia for possible use in their state (Note: CP-WV has substantially fewer registered…they total about 200 I think).

    As for CP-Idaho, on November 1st, 2015, we had 2,247 registered voters.

    (As an aside, we also believe that those 2,247 voters have a right to have a say in their nominee; that has not always been true inside the Constitution Party either. I have no ethical authority to impose upon these those registered CP-Idaho citizens who their national candidate will be…even though at times it seems like that is what the national people want to have happen.)

  5. @ Jim Riley
    “Idaho permits unaffiliated voters to affiliate with a party on election day.”

    Yes, in the general election.

    But that is not the case in the primary. From the Idaho Code:

    34-411A. Primary elections — CHANGING PARTY AFFILIATION — unaffiliated electors. (1) For a primary election, an elector may change such elector’s political party affiliation or become “unaffiliated” by filing a signed form with the county clerk no later than the last day a candidate may file for partisan political office prior to such primary election…

    Voters have until close of business Wednesday, December 9th, 2015 to affiliate with CP-Idaho if they expect to receive a ballot in the primary on March 8, 2016.

  6. @Floyd Whitley

    You left out the the second sentence of paragraph (1) and paragraph (2) entirely, and the entire section title is in all capitals.

    The sentence you cited applies only to voters who are affiliated with a party. They may not change affiliation for a few months before the primary.

    But the second sentence permits a non-affiliated voter affiliate with a party up to election day. And the second paragraph lets an non-affiliated voter affiliate at the polling place. They tell the polling clerk they want to become affiliated, are handed a primary ballot and are marked off as changing affiliation.

    If you look at the registration figures around the time of the 2014 primary, there was a jump of about 40,000 Republicans and drop of 40,000 non-affiliated voters.

    During the registration purge after the 2014 general election, almost the entirety of those purged were non-affiliated. You can’t purge someone unless mail to them is returned, and they don’t vote in the next two general elections. Most voters who qualify to be purged were registered prior to party registration. They are likely moved to another State, dead, or refuse to participate in a scheme that requires them to express their political beliefs in a government registry.

  7. @David:

    “The State still has to print ballots for the CP, which is a cost.”

    The COUNTY does that, under state code mandating the printing.

    In May of 2014, when we questioned a forced primary in the Constitution Party (which benefited no one except the liberal Republican incumbent) up in Legislative District 1, we we told by the State that the cost for printing ballots, and processing them was on the order of eleven cents to sixteen cents per ballot.

    If this estimate holds as accurate in 2016, and IF every CP-Idahoan voted, then the cost (which you seem concerned about) will range from about $250 to $350…if every registered Constitution Party member voted in the primary…which will happen with us or without us.

    Seems to me your question should be directed at the Republican establishment which pushed this measure. Why not question them on the $1,999,750 or so they will spend for the primary they created?

    Again, for us, the issue is a refusal to permit a monopoly on the state primary. By not participating, that is what would have happened.

    If you want to criticize CP-Idaho for the $250 to exercise our constitutional right of suffrage and participatory democracy, then so be it.

  8. @ Jim Riley:

    which part of…”no later than the last day a candidate may file for partisan political office prior to such primary election”…do you not understand?

    The relevant part of the code is cited. I suppose I could cite the entire state code, but Winger may not appreciate the bandwidth use.

    If you have an issue with what was cited, then take it up with the Idaho Secretary of State.

  9. Here’s the code, referencing changing party affiliation in the primary, with capitalized words as the gentleman pointed out:

    TITLE 34
    ELECTIONS
    CHAPTER 4
    VOTERS — PRIVILEGES, QUALIFICATIONS AND REGISTRATION
    34-411A. Primary elections — CHANGING PARTY AFFILIATION — unaffiliated electors. (1) For a primary election, an elector may change such elector’s political party affiliation or become “unaffiliated” by filing a signed form with the county clerk no later than the last day a candidate may file for partisan political office prior to such primary election, as provided for in section 34-704, Idaho Code. An “unaffiliated” elector may affiliate with the party of the elector’s choice by filing a signed form up to and including election day. The application form described in section 34-1002, Idaho Code, shall also be used for this purpose.
    (2) For a primary election, an “unaffiliated” elector may select a political party affiliation only prior to voting in the primary election. An elector may make such selection on or before election day, by declaring such political party affiliation to the poll worker or other appropriate election personnel. The poll worker or other appropriate election personnel shall then record in the poll book the elector’s choice. After the primary election, the county clerk shall record the party affiliation so recorded in the poll book as part of such elector’s record within the voter registration system as provided for in section 34-437A, Idaho Code.

  10. TITLE 34
    ELECTIONS
    CHAPTER 4
    VOTERS — PRIVILEGES, QUALIFICATIONS AND REGISTRATION

    The style sheet is set up to render the section title as:

    34-411A. PRIMARY ELECTIONS — CHANGING PARTY AFFILIATION — UNAFFILIATED ELECTORS

    The source text uses mixed case. I don’t know which is correct.

    The statute is in bold, my analysis follows in regular type.

    (1) For a primary election, an elector may change such elector’s political party affiliation or become “unaffiliated” by filing a signed form with the county clerk no later than the last day a candidate may file for partisan political office prior to such primary election, as provided for in section 34-704, Idaho Code.

    A person who is unaffiliated, does not have a party affiliation, just as a person who is unemployed does not have a job of “doing nothing”. The section quoted above only applies to persons who are registered Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, or Constitutionals. You are correct that these persons may not change their party affiliation prior to a primary.

    An “unaffiliated” elector may affiliate with the party of the elector’s choice by filing a signed form up to and including election day. The application form described in section 34-1002, Idaho Code, shall also be used for this purpose.

    An unaffiliated voter may change their party affiliation up to and including election day. The fact that this sentence immediately follows that for party affiliated voters makes clear that there is a distinction between how party affiliated, and unaffiliated voters are treated.

    The reason that party affiliated voters are not permitted to become unaffiliated, is so that they could not become unaffiliated, and then the next day become affiliated with a different party.

    (2) For a primary election, an “unaffiliated” elector may select a political party affiliation only prior to voting in the primary election. An elector may make such selection on or before election day, by declaring such political party affiliation to the poll worker or other appropriate election personnel. The poll worker or other appropriate election personnel shall then record in the poll book the elector’s choice. After the primary election, the county clerk shall record the party affiliation so recorded in the poll book as part of such elector’s record within the voter registration system as provided for in section 34-437A, Idaho Code.

    This applies to affiliation at the primary (or prior, for example when someone applies for an absentee ballot). They make their declaration of affiliation, are given a party ballot, and vote. Their party registration is then switched.

    If you had actually looked at the registration figures around the time of the 2014 primary, you will observe that there were around 40,000 nonaffiliated voters who became Republicans.

    If your interpretation was correct, this would have occurred in March, not June and July.

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