Except for the Term Limits proposal, these ideas would not require an amendment to the US Constitution. They would require state law changes. All of these ideas are for the purpose of making our elections more representative of the voters. They would reduce the power of the major parties and help to make it easier for third parties and other independent or disenfranchised voters to have influence and viability. The dynamics of elections would change greatly and the vote would be closer to the people’s wishes. Governments govern best closest to the people. If you agree with us on any or all of these proposals I urge you to join with me in promoting open, fair, and free elections.
1Open Primary Elections. A closed primary election requires voters to register by political party and then they are only given the ballot for that party. There are varied ways of opening primaries. https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/primary-types.aspx#closed
(Note 1.) Section - IX Ballot Access and Section -I Redistricting.
Your suggestion about geographical considerations and available polling places. Polling places I think is more of an issue of ease of voting and that is handled by the elections officers for each county. As to the geographical considerations, let me give you what I know about the guidelines in Idaho. County boundaries are considered. Like Bingham County is in a district by itself. That's okay and it basically keeps Fort Hall together although not totally. One of Idaho’s rules states that a federal or state Highway must connect the counties. But look at three districts that I think are really strange and should have caused a redrawing of the district lines. District 7 includes a small part of Bonner then all of Shoshone, Clearwater, and Idaho Counties. This district is along the eastern border of Northern Idaho while the other six districts are on the western border. Then District 8 includes all of five counties in the center of the state. It includes Gem, Boise, Valley, Custer and Lemhi Counties. Then district 32 comprises all of Teton County part of Bonneville County and then all of Caribou, Bear Lake, Franklin, and Oneida counties. There are other issues but these, I think, are the most glaring. In my mind this also becomes an issue in the representation that the State Senator issue addresses. There have to be guidelines depending on the circumstances in each state. The 2021 proposal from the Reapportionment Commission solved some of these issues.
(Note 2) Section - IX Ballot access.
My point on geographic issues is more about accessibility for voters. An area that is closer in miles to one polling place, but technically requires a significantly longer drive to access the polling place because of bridge placement or unimproved roads being the only realistic option for travel should be considered. There might be times when specific circumstances necessitate a change in districting. This wouldn’t be the case in state redistricting, but think of that tiny corner of Arizona accessible from I-15 that is ridiculously out of the way from most roadways in the state. The comparison for me would be contracting with Utah or Nevada to handle roadwork on that <20 mile stretch rather than hauling Arizona owned road equipment to do maintenance there. Comparatively, in some places you have a small piece of a county that is disconnected from the county seat geographically and would be more reasonably included in a district primarily in another county.
I live relatively close to 3 entrances to West Bench neighborhoods that are not interconnected. Putting Trail Creek and the Jefferson Elementary area and the neighborhood accessed by driving up on a third entrance all into the same precinct that votes at the elementary school, for instance, actually makes it less accessible and more inconvenient to voters up Trail Creek than using Lincoln Elementary or the Veteran’s Building or Irving as a polling place. That’s what I’m thinking of with geographical considerations in redistricting for precincts. The neighborhood around Jefferson is a “higher rent” district than the Old Town area, but Old Town locations are more accessible to all of the more tucked away neighborhoods that are on the bench.
(Note 3) Section - I Reapportionment
Answer from Senator Mike Crapo, R, Idaho to our query about the voting rights acts:
Thank you for contacting me about S. 2747, the Freedom to Vote Act. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.
Following the defeat of S. 1, the For the People Act, Senate Democrats unveiled S. 2747. This updated legislation made some changes to S. 1, including:
• Requiring states to allow any voter to request a mail-in ballot, rather than mandating the ballots to be sent automatically; and
• Removing the ballot harvesting requirement.
However, S. 2747 still contains many of the mandates in the For the People Act, including:
• Requiring state departments of motor vehicles to register voters unless the individual opts out;
• Mandating ballot drop-boxes; and
• Requiring states to allow felon voting in federal elections.
Despite the above changes, S. 2747 was crafted without any input from Senate Republicans and, like S. 1, upsets the traditional and constitutional prerogative of the states based on Article 1, Section 4, and Article 2, Section 1. Idaho has already implemented policies to increase voter turnout, including:
• Same-day voter registration with proof of residence; and
• No-excuse absentee and early voting.
Mandating that other states do the same is a violation of state sovereignty. States are best equipped to implement and enforce election policies that protect the integrity of all future elections and restore Americans’ faith in our electoral system. On October 20, 2021, S. 2747 failed to receive enough votes to advance in the Senate.
Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our republic. Further loss of confidence in our electoral system would be catastrophic for our country, and this bill would only compound confusion in the election process. I support the establishment of a commission to study the last election and recommend meaningful reforms to protect integrity and participation in our electoral process.
It is essential for me to be informed of the concerns of all Idahoans. I hope you will not hesitate to reach out to me in the future if I might be of assistance on federal matters as I continue to work to ensure Idaho’s views are represented at the national level.
United States Senator
Committee for free, open, honest, and fair elections for a truly Representative Democracy,
PO Box 2907, Pocatello, ID 83206-2907
email – Commffelect@gmail.com
website – committeeforfairelections.org