Saturday, April 11, 2015

Otter Signs Presidential Primary Bill, Idaho Date Set for March 8

Idaho Governor Butch Otter (R) on Thursday, April 9 signed SB 1066 into law. The measure reestablishes a presidential primary in the Gem state, but unlike in the past, the primary will now be a stand-mostly-alone election scheduled for the second Tuesday in March -- March 8 during the 2016 cycle.1 The primary elections for other state and local offices will continue to be administered but separately now in mid-May.

Idaho Democrats have already chosen to maintain the caucuses/convention system the party has utilized since 1972. Gem state Republicans, then, will hold a March 8 primary and their Democratic counterparts will caucus two weeks later on March 22. The move makes Idaho the second state to slot into the second Tuesday in March date, joining Michigan. Mississippi and Ohio already had primaries scheduled for March 8 along with Hawaii Republicans' caucuses. Washington state is currently considering legislation to shift their primary to that date, and Alabama is looking to leave the March 8 date for the SEC primary a week earlier on March 1.

A bill to fund the primary is now also on the governor's desk having passed the now-adjourned Idaho state legislature.

1 School elections are also scheduled on that date throughout parts of the state.

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