Please plan to vote – your future and freedom depends on it!

North Idaho Republicans

The recent Idaho Republican Presidential Caucus revealed a very disturbing reality: over 91% of Republican voters in Kootenai County found themselves either shut out, opting out, or simply ill-informed about the event. That would be like throwing a party and inviting 100 people, but having only eight or nine attend. Statewide turnout was even lower. The State Party succeeded in their goal of restricting access.

A post-caucus survey provided valuable feedback, offering a glimpse into voter frustration with Idaho’s Republican leaders at large. The responses paint a stark picture.

Many Republicans expressed feeling shut out of the caucus. Many were working, deployed, or physically unable to attend, so they were unable to participate. Absentee ballots were not an option.

A Republican in Coeur d’Alene lamented, “I had to work. I am extremely upset that I was not able to participate and vote. Shame on our party.” Another said, “It ran smoothly because basically NO ONE showed up!

A significant number of local Republicans opted out of the caucus due to conflicting circumstances. Many had family obligations that clashed with the caucus schedule. Seventh Day Adventists and members of other faith-based groups had church commitments on the day of the caucus.

A Republican mother shared her struggle with finding childcare, stating, “My husband was out of town so he didn’t get to have his voice heard. I had to stay with my kids and was unable to attend. I feel like this process is incredibly un-American and not a true representation of how Idaho would vote. I’m so disappointed in my party and legislators.”

Others felt ill-informed about the caucus. Some voters couldn’t participate because they lacked accurate information. Some never received their ‘official postcard entry ticket’.

A Hayden voter expressed frustration, “The precincts were only open for an hour and a half. No times were given on the mailer. I couldn’t even vote. There are a lot of angry people right now. This is unfair! Who is running this show? This is a Trump state! We want our votes to count! We the people have had enough!”

Hayden Representative Vito Barbieri said in his newsletter, “This was an excellent opportunity for the grassroots members of our state and our party to make their voice heard for a candidate.” But who would ever consider 8% turnout to be anything but meaningless?

Last year, there was a proposal (S1186) aimed to reinstate the presidential direct primary election, merging it with the May primary. This proposal not only preserved the presidential primary but also projected to save Idaho taxpayers an estimated $2.7 million every four years.

But Idaho GOP Chairwoman Dorothy Moon opposed the presidential primary, later advocating for the caucus system instead. While Senator Carl Bjerke supported S1186, North Idaho Senators Hart, Herndon, Okuniewicz, and Toews voted against it, meaning they supported a caucus.
The National Republican Platform pledges to safeguard the voting rights of all legitimate voters, with a specific emphasis on protecting the rights of elderly, disabled, and military voters stationed overseas. However, recent comments from KCRCC Chairman Brent Regan suggest a willingness to sacrifice active-duty Republicans’ voting rights in favor of the caucus.

Idahoans should have greater accessibility, flexibility, and transparency – and turnout – at the ballot box, not less.

If you’re frustrated by the caucus system, you should pay very close attention to ongoing efforts by Coeur d’Alene Representative Joe Alfieri to restrict absentee voting in ALL future elections.

Kootenai County Representatives Alfieri, Barbieri, and Scott all support current House Bill 667 which seeks to limit absentee voting to very specific circumstances, such as being out of town or dealing with illness or disability. But who would be the real judge? This represents a serious departure from the current efficient system which permits absentee voting as a convenient, secure, and free choice. The Idaho Secretary of State and the county clerks who are in charge of implementing Idaho elections all oppose this bill.

In light of this deviation from the Republican Platform and growing dissatisfaction among voters, both Brent Regan and Dorothy Moon are clearly failing us as Republican leaders. They want LESS people voting, not more. They don’t even want you involved unless you do exactly what they say.

The caucus fiasco was purposely instigated by elected legislators and Republican party leaders. Fortunately, we have the power to change this trajectory of poor leadership – by voting. Exercise your right to vote while you still can.

If you want to vote in the Republican primary on May 21, you need to be registered and affiliated Republican. The last day to change affiliation is March 15. If you are ‘unaffiliated’ you can still affiliate any time up to and including election day.

Please plan to vote – your future and freedom depends on it!