Idaho House Panel Approves of Super Tuesday Presidential Primary

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Senate Bill 1066 has one final hurdle (and it's a big one) to clear  before the measure which would put Idaho in the midst of a Super Tuesday presidential primary night goes to Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter for his signature.

The Idaho House State Affairs Committee, by voice vote, approved the bill, which has already cleared the Idaho Senate. Only four Democratic representatives—Paulette Jordan, John McCrostie, Elaine Smith and Melissa Wintro—and Republican Rep. Lynn Luker voted against the bill.

Idaho's current presidential caucus is in May.

"But generally by May, the presidential nominees are normally done," said co-sponsor Rep. John Vander Woude. 

And Idaho, in 2012, experimented with a presidential caucus, requiring interested voters to drive to select locations to vote, sometimes on multiple ballots.

"But those caucuses are very limited as to who will participate," said Vander Woude.

Lawmakers heard from a number of citizens who said the nighttime caucus procedures prohibited them from participating because of their work or school schedules. They also pointed to the importance of absentee ballots for military service men and women. The caucus process sometimes requires multiple ballots, thus preventing absentee ballots on second or third ballots (or more). 

But Luker balked at the price tag for creating a March presidential primary.

"I can't support the public expenditure for this," said Luker. "I'm going to vote no."

Ultimately, Luker was the only Republican to vote against the bill, which now heads to the full House for its consideration.