The Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee has proposed another bill reestablishing the Gem state presidential primary and scheduling the election for the second Tuesday in March. In fact, SB 1066 is exactly the same as the previously introduced SB 1049 but for the addition of one section.
The intent of the new legislation is to define who is eligible to participate in the primary election. Under the current state law the state of Idaho defers to the political parties as to who can vote in the regular May primary election. Since the presidential primaries and those for other offices were consolidated until the presidential primary was repealed in 2011, there was no need for language extending the participation provision to presidential primaries specifically. Now that there is a proposal on the table to not only bring back the presidential primary for the 2016 cycle but to schedule it as a separate election, there is a need to name the proposed presidential primary election in the law.
That is all fairly abstract. Essentially, Idaho state law defers to the political parties in the state to decide if unaffiliated voters and those registered with the other party can participate in the primary, or in this case presidential primary, of a party. Under the current law, political parties notify the Idaho secretary of state of their intentions 180 days in advance of the primary. This deadline would change to the last Tuesday in November if SB 1066 is passed and signed into law.
This latest bill may or may not be a corrective addition to the original bill (SB 1049). If it is, then the new bill is likely to take precedence over the old one.
UPDATE (2/25/15): Second, similar primary bill passes Senate committee
UPDATE (3/3/15): Second, similar primary bill passes Senate
Washington Legislation Would Move Presidential Primary to March
Minnesota Parties Jointly Agree on Compliant March 1 Caucuses
New Mexico Republicans Chasing More Attention with Earlier Primary Attempt
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