GOP adds earlier primary for presidential elections

By Cameron Rasmusson
Reader Staff

If you’re planning to vote in next year’s primary elections, you may have to make a couple trips to the polls.

Due to legislation passed this spring, Idaho is adopting a second primary election to accommodate elections for political parties’ presidential nominations. According to Idaho Secretary of State Chief Deputy Tim Hurst, the Idaho Republican Party hopes the change will bring the state increased attention and influence during the primary election.

The change replaces Idaho’s presidential caucuses, which took place during the state elections in May. According to Sen. Chuck Winder, who supported the bill during the legislative session, that late time frame lessened Idaho’s influence on party nominations.

Of course, nothing in life is free, and Hurst said implementing the earlier primary will cost about $2 million. It will also increase the workload for Idaho county employees, who must manage an additional election.

The shift to a presidential primary system may impact more than state funds. Hurst said the date selected, March 8, is otherwise devoted to school bonds and levy elections. With increased numbers of traditionally conservative voters heading to the polls, school districts attempting to pass additional taxes may have a more difficult time.

“You’ll have more people turn out for elections, and all of them will be Republicans,” Hurst said.

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