Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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OPEN PRIMARIES: More voters could participate

| June 9, 2024 1:00 AM

Mr. Strong, 

James, thank you for your response regarding the Idaho Open Primaries Initiative. Let’s keep the dialogue open.

The Open Primaries Initiative goals are not to allow Democrats to have an advantage, “but to bring back open primaries to Idaho as it was prior to 2011,” when we had open primaries.

On May 21, Idaho’s primary election proved, once again, that the closed primary system is bad for Idaho. Just 24% of Idaho voters participated and thousands of independent voters were denied a voice. In Kootenai County, only 2.1% of independents voted. Meanwhile, special-interest groups spent record-breaking amounts of money on negative attack ads. 

Not surprisingly, the result of the primary election was a crop of elected officials who are accountable not to the vast majority of the Idaho voters but instead to party insiders and deep-pocketed special interests. 

The closed primary system blocks 270,000 independent voters from participating in Idaho’s most important elections. It’s time to give all voters a voice and to restore accountability to our government. 

To put in perspective let’s look at the Kootenai County commissioners race. Many qualified individuals ran yet only one moved ahead in each district. 

In an open primary election the “top four candidates would move to the general election and the winner would be decided with 50.1% of the vote. 

This gives each candidate the opportunity to have his/her voice heard.

Regardless of party affiliation, we all owe it to Idaho’s future to have the best people representing us in government. 

James, thank you again for having a continued conversation.

TOM SANNER

Lifelong Idaho resident