Thursday, March 03, 2011

IRP vs. Ysursa

Victory is ours.

Or victory is the 1st Amendment's, I guess. But still, I was the expert witness for the plaintiffs, in this case Idaho Republican Party.

Newspaper article. Check the comments.

Court decision. Win! We win!

Very interesting issue: are parties private organizations, able to decide how they select candidates, subject only to nondiscrimination restrictions? Or can the state decide?

This advocate for "independents" thinks its a bad idea. Ma'am, parties are private organizations. If you want to vote in a primary, register as a member of that party. And of course you still get to vote however you want in the general election.

In North Carolina, we allow independents to vote in party primaries. But Dems can't cross over and vote for Repubs. Why would Coke execs get to sit on the board of Pepsi and make marketing decisions?

More soon...


Jason said...

Do these private organizations pay for their own primaries, or is that paid for by the taxpayers?

If the latter, I don't see the problem in the state's requiring some form of openness in return for the payment, assuming the party has the legal option of paying for and operating their own election scheme.

Punchier: If you won't invite me to your party, don't expect me to pay for the booze.

Patrick said...

The state pays for primary elections for all parties that garner a certain threshold of the popular vote in the general election.

De facto that means yes, it subsidizes the jackasses and the elephants. But de jure, if the Libertarians or the Black Panthers had sufficient popular support, they'd get a subsidy too.

What Madison and Hamilton and Jay would have made of this is hard to say, but the Idaho decision is still a victory for those who take the Constitution seriously.

Jason said...

I don't want to subsidize the Libertarians or the Black Panthers, either. That's not my issue with this.

One objection I have to closed primaries is that they require the state to record party affiliation. What business is it of the State Board of Elections to know whose mailing lists I'm on?

Ahh... I've just read the decision (twice), and here it is on page 3: "With certain exceptions... Idaho law requires that political party general election candidates... be chosen in the Idaho primary election."

So apparently they *don't* have the right to run their own primary. In which case, I withdraw my complaint and substitute the complaint that the state of Idaho forces their voting procedure on a quasi-private party.

The open primaries I'm familiar with are in South Carolina.
South Carolina has open primaries, but they explicitly permit conventions (and advisory primaries at the party's expense): see SC Code 7-11-20 thru 7-11-30. (Primary rules are in 7-13-1010 etc.)

Anonymous said...

Well, gosh, Jason. Here's what's going on:

1. The decision was NOT that the parties must have a closed primary. It was that the parties could CHOOSE. And so in South Carolina the parties are choosing. That's all good.

2. The parties WERE private organizations. And then the Progressive reformers forced them at gunpoint to move to primaries. In return, the state agreed to pay. This was a power grab.

If your point is that states should allow parties to use conventions, I'm with you. It would be BETTER if the state didn't force its way into the process by requiring primaries and then doing the "favor" of taking money from taxpayers and wasting it on an election with 15% turnout.

But they do. So this decision was back in the right direction. If you think it doesn't go nearly far enough, and party sponsored conventions would be better, I think you are right.

And that is JUST what the Libertarians do! Our state convention will be held in April, here in NC!

Mike said...

Amusingly enough, Idaho GOP candidates will now be free to lurch right and then they'll start to discover that that isn't what all Idahoans want. The Idaho Republicans now ought to exercise their constitutional freedom of association to hold an open primary, in the interest of continuing to select candidates that win rather than candidates that make conservative activists feel good during primary balloting.

Anonymous said...

"Why would Coke execs get to sit on the board of Pepsi and make marketing decisions?"

Coke execs don't get to make laws that could hurt the interests of Pepsi. Politicians of each party are able to make such laws.

My personal jury's still out on the whole primary thing. I definitely don't agree that parties are completely private organizations (then the candidates would not be "public" citizens since they're just representing a private organization), but I also don't think they're completely public either. Some sort of weird Frankenstein monster that is hard to categorize.

Jordon M. Greene said...

I agree entirely, Parties are private entities and have a right to make their own choices as to how to govern themselves and how to choose who can and cannot represent them. That is another one of the core issues of my PAC, Free the Vote North Carolina that we plan to work on in the future in NC.

Currently NC requires Parties to use public primaries. Simply because a party can choose closed primaries, does not mean that the Party can ensure that only those that adhere to its values or are dues paying members, or whatever the criteria may be, vote in the choosing of their candidates, because anyone can change their voter registration prior to the deadline and vote in the other parties primary.

Simply put, the Primary mandate must end and the State must allow Parties to nominate their candidates in the manner they so choose (better yet eliminate public primaries altogether and save NC between $9 and $11 million each election year in costs conduct them, i.e. a publicly funded private party function).