Idaho Dispatch

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Op-Ed: Death of the Primary

By • November 12, 2023

The Democrats running Reclaim Idaho and their supporters are pushing a voter initiative which they are deceptively calling the “Open Primary Initiative” and falsely claiming that “Leaders are handpicked by political party committees” and that somehow Idahoans do not have the freedom to vote in all elections. These ridiculous claims are easily disproven with a tiny bit of rational thinking.

Initiatives allow the citizens to pass laws directly without going through the legislative process. It starts with submitting the proposed initiative language to the SOS for review. Then the proponents must gather signatures from 6% of the voters in at least 18 counties. To collect the 62,895 signatures needed in the time allowed professional signature gathers are employed. During the last Reclaim initiative drive for Medicaid Expansion, Soros funded out of state organization spent nearly half a million dollars collecting signatures. Once the signatures are gathered the initiative is put on the next election’s ballot.

The signature gatherers are paid for each signature they collect so there is a strong incentive for them to say whatever it takes to get you to sign. Before you sign you need to read what you are signing. If you do you will find that the measure makes two major changes to election law. Let’s examine the first change. Here are the words as they appear in the short title of the initiative:


So no more Republican or Democrat primary, just one big mess you get to sort out. But it gets better.


What??!! You read it right. Candidates can say they are with one party when they are actually philosophically with a different party. That is the law they want you to approve. Democrats could put an “R” for Republican next to their name on the ballot even though they are affiliated with the Democrat party. They want you to approve a law that would make it legal to lie about party affiliation. Not a joke.

The winners of this “Jungle Primary” will be the top four vote getters. Those four will move on to the Ranked Choice General Election and you, the voter, will need to rank the candidates from best to worst if you want your vote to count.

You know how easy it is for you to carefully consider the candidates in the general election and then select the one candidate you will support. With Ranked Choice Voting you will need to not only select the candidate you prefer but also your second choice…and your third choice. You will also need to vote for your last choice. Why? Because if you don’t, your ballot may be “exhausted,” and your vote won’t count at all. AND you will need to do this FOR EACH of around 20 races.

On Election Day you will need to carefully mark each of the 4 candidates in the 20+ races. That is more than 80 candidates you will need to know and rank from first choice through last. Once the polls close the fun begins.

All the ballots are scanned into a big computer running very expensive software and the computer counts everybody’s first choice. If no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, then the candidate with the least amount of first choice votes gets eliminated and, on those ballots, where he was eliminated then the second-place choice is elevated to first place. If the second choice isn’t marked, then that ballot is “exhausted” and is no longer considered. The tally is done again. If the first choice still hasn’t received more than 50% then the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and the next choice on those ballots that aren’t exhausted is elevated.

The winner is the one who FINALLY gets more than 50% of the votes that are left, not of those that voted because by the final round many of the ballots are “exhausted” so the voters who cast those ballots have no say in the final results. It is as if they never voted at all. Confused? Join the club.

Another “benefit” of Ranked Choice Voting is that it is impossible to hand count and almost impossible to audit so if you suspect a problem in the vote tally, good luck proving it.

Finally, Idaho does not currently have a voting system that is able to accommodate Ranked Choice Voting, so we would need to buy tens of millions of dollars in new computers and training.

All this just so progressive Democrats can get into office and spend even more of your tax dollars on their woke agenda. Don’t turn Idaho into California. If approached with the “Open Primaries” initiative petition, DECLINE TO SIGN. Just say NO to Jungle Primaries and Rigged Choice Voting.

It’s just common sense.

This Op-Ed was submitted by Brent Regan. Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.

Editor’s Note: This was originally published with credit to an incorrect author. It has been updated to correct the error.

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Tags: Ballot Initiative, Democrats, GOP, Idaho Primary Election, Jungle Primary, Medicaid expansion, Open Primaries, Open Primary Initiative, Ranked Choice Voting, Reclaim Idaho, Republicans, Signatures, Soros

11 thoughts on “Op-Ed: Death of the Primary

  1. Ranked-choice voting is the reason Alaska keeps getting progressive Lisa Murkowski. Voting should always be a vote for a single person. If no one gets 50%, do a run-off election. It should NEVER be left to a computer. That’s how we got Joe Biden.

  2. I am confused. This op-ed was written by Brent Regan for his “Common Sense” column in the Coeur d’Alene Press. Since Brent is on the IDGOP State Central Committee, he allowed us to distribute it to our members. The IDGOP did just that over the weekend.

  3. This just codifies what the lying, cheating, and scheming Democrats are already doing: registering as Republicans and competing in the Republican primaries.


  4. Ranked Choice Voting is a curse brought to us courtesy of the Democrat Party. I refuse to say Democratic as they are anything but that!

    Keep in mind that although Hillary Clinton claims Donald Trump will destroy America’s democracy, she is wrong on two counts: (1) she spent her own money to ensure President Trump was harassed throughout his presidency on specious grounds, and (2) America is a democratic republic–that’s a huge difference from a pure democracy. It ensures small states like ours are on an even footing with large states–something our children are no longer taught in school thanks to the Democrats.

    Finally, never forget that lying liars lie! That’s one thing you can ALWAYS count on with the Democrat Party!

    1. I call them dam-o-brats because they ARE brats (immature, spoiled children) and I don’t swear, so I can’t spell out dam-.

  5. Ranked Choice Voting is the most sensible method of identifying which candidates have the greatest support from all voters which, if you remember George Washington’s warnings about political parties (“factions”), it the best way to reflect our effort at true self-government.

    Arguments to the contrary are nothing more than mendacious attempts by those who profit from the current situation to extend it in perpetuity.

    1. Wrong!

      RCV is a scheme that is counter intuitive, convoluted, and undemocratic. The Democrat Party isn’t democratic and has ceased being the party of the working man once it took on the old Republican Party icon, the Monopoly game Banker. Yes, the old Democratic Party used to stand for campaign finance reform and common cause issues that protected the common man from the tyranny of the wealthy folk; but today, Democrat Party politicians and lawyers are the recipients of huge sums from Wall Street, Silicon Valley, woke multinationals, and public employee labor unions.

      Your comment is indicative of the obfuscation that your candidates employ when they run as an Idaho Republicans but vote as Democrats. In other words, your candidates and politicians tell lies, your party lies, and your lawyers lie. And so do you.

      Don’t make Idaho California. Don’t ever listen to a Democrat. And don’t vote for Ranked Choice voting.

      1. Retired. You are so correct in your comments. I hope the voting public reads and thinks about what you correctly stated. If not, we then will get the government that we asked for, but not the one that we deserve.

  6. As a practical matter, if some politician, Butch Otter or Brad Little etc. suggests RCV or any other election scheme it means that IACI see it as a way to increase their power. These are owned people and one would do well to oppose anything they suggest, particularly when it comes to voting.

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