Record-low turnout could prompt Idaho GOP to revisit closed primary, Ysursa says

Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa said Wednesday that record-low turnout in Tuesday’s primary could prompt his Republican Party to revisit its decision to limit the primary to registered GOP voters.

“I do believe it had that negative effect of a couple of points,” Ysursa said. “I think there will be some constructive dialogue, including a discussion of whether unaffiliated voters should be able vote Republican.”

Unofficial returns showed turnout at 23 percent, the figure Ysursa predicted. That’s 2 percentage points lower than the former record for low turnout, 25 percent in 1988. The final vote totals will be official at the May 30 state canvas.

Ysursa said he discussed the issue with GOP Gov. Butch Otter on Wednesday, “We’re disappointed, obviously.”

Otter and Ysursa both opposed the closed primary. Otter's spokesman, Jon Hanian, said Otter said “it would not surprise him if the issue of the closed primary was revisited by the party, given the low turnout and some of the other issues/concerns raised during this process.”

Ysursa said the matter could be raised at the state party convention in June, where the rule limiting participation to affiliated Republicans could be amended. But Hanian said Otter “has not indicated where that would happen.” A change also could be made by the Legislature, which enacted the closed primary law last year after the Republican Party won a federal court case.

Ysursa and Otter both opposed the closed primary, but backed down after the party won the lawsuit. “

“I’ve always been in favor of the open primary and still am,” Ysursa said. “I think it gives voters the privacy that Idahoans cherish.”

Turnout in Ada County dropped to 17 percent, below the average in the last three elections of 21 percent. Ysursa speculated that may be attributed to the fact the media covered the new rules extensively. “People knew about the process better and were turned off by it, that’s just my pure conjecture.”

Ada County Chief Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane said the factors are complex.

"The disappointing thing from an election official's standpoint is that a lot of time, effort, and money goes into putting on an election, so you want to see people come out and vote. I looked it up this morning, in March, we had a cumulative turnout of 26.9% between the Boise and Meridian School Districts, which encompasses all but 14,000 Ada County voters. It’s tough to say why people showed up then, but not now. It may just be the combination of all of the changes. One would think that more election awareness would produce greater participation, but maybe not."

Turnout in Canyon County, which had two hot county commission contests and an open sheriff's seat, was considerably better, 26 percent.

Both Ysursa and McGrane agreed that voter education made for a well-run election.

"From a technical, administrative viewpoint the election went well," said Ysursa, Idaho's chief election official. "I give credit to the county clerks."

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That would mean

They would have to admit they're wrong.

How silly is that?

oneop, They've been wrong so many times this year,

that it would be hilarious, if it didn't have such serious implications....Sunny...

And they have a shorter memory than an Alzheimer's patient.


It you go online and yell FAQ YOU TOO

You are cut off at the well son.

Statesman sponored whining

No just means the Democrats didn't come out to vote in the Republican primary in order to attempt to elect a lesser qualified candidate for their November it would matter anyway.

Do you have any examples of when that has happened?

I keep hearing of this supposed Democrat cross-over but can't find any evidence of it impacting any election. When has this happened in Idaho?

which lesser-qualified candidate would that be?

Generally, Republicans have been electing more conservative candidates over the past several years; are you suggesting they would actually prefer moderate candidates and the Democrats who are forcing the move to the right?

Not into low records a 2 Live Crew.


It you go online and yell FAQ YOU TOO

You are cut off at the well son.


I did. I became a Republican for 3 minutes. There were no democratic challengers in Dist 14 so in order to have a say in the election, I was forced to declare republican. The primary was essentially the election. It felt awkward to say the least declaring rep but I openly told them I was not, which eased the pain a bit. I guess now the GOP will waste their money sending me snail mail and such going forward. Too bad for them.

Yeah, about that

Really, did you see the number of Democrats who turned out. You really believe this?

No just means the Democrats didn't come out to vote

No it just means Independents like myself who have a history of holding their nose and voting Republican, because we feel they will do the least amount of damage were disenfranchised!

Low turnout

The low turnout is exactly what the Repuglicans want. If you are not a member of the private club, then stay home. They know what is best.

only the chosen shall get to vote ...

says so in the book between the begats and hegats.

It's exactly what they wanted and it won't change.

The more difficult you make it, the fewer people will vote and in a red state like Idaho, that's what you want. Unfortunately, it may backfire as I for one voted Democratic simply because I didn't like that it was a closed election and I'll probably vote that way in December even though I'm a registered Republican. My one vote won't matter but I can't be the only one that feels this way.

You are not the only Rep

You are not the only Rep voting D and that trend will continue. People covet their privacy in voting is the big and main issue. Besides with such information now public record it will come to haunt every Rep voter with unsolicitated mail and contact because of such public info.

my first primary voting the D ticket

I'm independent, not Republican, but I voted my first Democratic ballot yesterday (as an unaffiliated) and I vowed that I would not vote for a single Republican this fall.

Even if

Obama is caught with a white, gay man in a straight, dark alley?

Buzz off.


It you go online and yell FAQ YOU TOO

You are cut off at the well son.

Your vote certainly won't

Your vote certainly won't count if you vote in December. It may have more impact if you vote on election day in November.

me too

Me too

turnout is higher on the GOP side

it's the democrat side that is lower and skewing the numbers down. Not happy with the democrat choices?

Skewing the numbers how?

Democrat turnout is almost always lower. Why would the numbers be any more skewed this year?

Just heard on the radio

that Republican turnout was 15% higher than 4 years ago. Democrat turn out was off by 1/3 from 4 years ago. Those numbers suggest that the democrats stayed home. If correct, that is how the gross turnout percentage dropped.

Funny, Democrats didn't want to self identify as Democrats. Who would have thought?

Where did you hear that? 15% higher? Hard to imagine

I imagine there are quite a few Democrats who don't want their voting choice published given what a super minority they are in the state. Why put your name on the public list when there was no primary race worth voting in?

Low democrat turnout

From Secretary of States website.

Republican votes cast in both districts Congressional races:

2012 144,500
2008 126,573

Diff 17,927 increase!

Democrat votes cast in both districts congressional races:

2012 22,503
2008 36,101

Diff 13,598 decrease!!!

It's called...wait for it...wait for it

...disenfranchisement. Public knowledge of one's political party is of the most concern.

Apples to oranges. Where

Apples to oranges. Where are the numbers comparing primaries? Seems to me to be a no-brainer that more people would turn out for a general election. "There are three kinds of lies: lies, dam-ed lies, and statistics." Mark Twain.

buzz off 2X


It you go online and yell FAQ YOU TOO

You are cut off at the well son.


The Idaho GOP has done it again, why stop now with such a great track record of blowing it. You make me SO proud Idaho GOP!

Planned to vote...

...until I learned that party affiliation would be public record. My party affiliation is my business and my business alone.

Yet another "fix" for something that wasn't broken. Thanks GOP!

And it only cost the taxpayers an extra $200,000. What a deal!

Does anybody remember when the Idaho GOP stood for fiscal responsibility? Less government interference? Personal choice? It seems so long ago.

Now that I am a registered Republican, I look forward to

the increased mailings and phone calls I will likely receive. Every time they send me a letter asking for a contribution to the party, I will fill out the form with "Not a penny until we open the primary!"

I also look forward to a few good phone calls from the GOP so I can let them know exactly how I feel about the new law.

Come on!

At least start a sex scandal or something, be a help!


It you go online and yell FAQ YOU TOO

You are cut off at the well son.


Dannys Left Wing Tap Dancing Clown Chorus sounds vexed. Too bad. Dems had a ballot too.


It has to hurt when the clowns are the smartest ones in the circus.

Mostly unopposed I gathered.


It you go online and yell FAQ YOU TOO

You are cut off at the well son.

I voted as the Democrat I am.

Even with only one race to vote for, I still exercised my right to vote. When I found out that I would be a registered Republican if I voted the Republican ballot, I proudly said loudly, "I will vote as a Democrat." Even if I was a Republican, I would have voted Democrat. This is a lousy way to keep non-Republicans out of their right to vote and violate their privacy.
I am glad though that my husband and I didn't vote at the same time. He is a typical paranoid Idaho Republican diehard.


does the party of less government keep mandating more of it?

I declared "R"

which most accurately describes my beliefs. Then I expressed my disgust with the closed primary by voting against all but one incombents, (the online censor won't let me spell that word correctly - it picked three letters out of the word and made me change one of them - can you figure out which one?). I just may have the same voting pattern in November.

No "D" or "R" by my name

I will not register as a Republican or Democrat. Neither platform fits my needs. Both are out dated and ineffective. I am a social and fiscal conservative, but more of an environmental and conservation liberal. On the other hand, we need to help people when they are down and we need to be realistic about the use of our natural resources. We need to allow business to function, but not cater to the grossly rich. We need to protect our national interests, but we can't change deeply rooted cultures so foreign to our own. Extremists on both sides are creating a stalemate in our government, so we accomplish nothing in the end.

Nope, a DR you are not.


It you go online and yell FAQ YOU TOO

You are cut off at the well son.

How much privacy do we

How much privacy do we really have though? When I vote, the ballot number is entered by my name on the register, making my vote available to any poll worker intent on knowing how I voted. That is no privacy at all.