Idaho's party affiliation deadline could move up

Posted at 10:45 AM, Jan 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-18 12:49:28-05

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Idaho voters seeking to change their political party affiliation before this year's presidential primary election would be up against a tight deadline under new legislation introduced Monday.

The bill, approved by the Senate State Affairs Committee, would cut off party affiliation changes on the second Friday of February. The current deadline is March 12.

Chief Deputy Secretary of State Tim Hurst says current law allows people to register as Republican during Idaho's new March 8 presidential primary election and then switch to another party to vote under different affiliation for the May 17 primary.

The bill would also forbid write-in candidates from participating in the March 8 primary.

Idaho's GOP primary elections are closed to non-registered Republicans. Lawmakers approved moving up the presidential primary last year with the intent of improving Idaho's profile in the 2016 primary.