Letter to the editor: Closed primary

March 25, 2014 

Congratulations to you Robert Ehlert for your March 9 opinion piece regarding the closed primary. Someone has noticed that the Idaho GOP is running a private candidate nominating election, usually called a "primary" election, at taxpayers' expense.

When a political party uses taxpayer funds to put on its nominating election, but bars the taxpayers at large from participating, unless they are members of that party, they are effectively engaging in taxation without representation. If you are a taxpayer, you should be able to vote in any party's taxpayer-funded election, regardless of your political views, as long as you are otherwise duly registered.

This should enrage tea party-minded folks. But, alas, the tea party wing of the Legislature wrote the law. We have heard nary a word from them regarding this "private" dip into the public trough. A tea party-themed bill was introduced last session, I believe by Rep. John Rusche, to remedy this by requiring parties that elect to close their primaries to reimburse the taxpayers, but it got nowhere. When it comes to using public tax monies, we should be adhering to the mantra: publicly funded, public participation; private participation, privately funded!

JOE SHREVE, Caldwell

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