I have been stymied as to why the Idaho Legislature was so obsessed with restricting the citizens’ initiative process. They did so by passing two bills further restricting the requirements for a citizens’ initiative to make it to the ballot as to make it nearly impossible. Obviously, if it wasn’t for the governor’s veto of both bills, it would have become law if upheld by the courts, unlikely because it violates the intent of the Idaho Constitution.
Why would legislators ignore the will of the people when the Proposition 2 ballot was passed in November by 61 percent? Ah, but it now makes sense to me and why the Republican primary rules need to be changed to reflect the will of the people. As you may recall, only registered Republicans are able to vote in the Republican primary, and it is a fact that the primaries have a very poor turn-out. In recent years, it appears that the majority of Republicans that vote in the primary are the most conservative of conservative Republicans. Unlike the Democrats, who run an open primary, the Republicans’ primary is closed. So, come the Election Day, only the most conservative Republican candidates are on the ballot and with Idaho being a red state, only the most conservative Republicans are elected to office. And this is why there is a disconnect between the passage of Proposition 2 (Medicaid Expansion) and the passage of a more restrictive initiative bill by our Legislature.
One way to counter this disconnect between the people of Idaho and our elected legislators is for the Republican party to open its primary to all registered voters OR to allow registered independent voters to also vote in their primary. It is up to the members of the Idaho Republican Party to change their party rules regarding their primary.