May 7, 2012
GANNON SAYS “VOTE” BUT PROMISES LEGISLATION TO KEEP POLITICAL
PARTY AFFILIATION PRIVATE
“I encourage everyone to vote – against those who support this closed primary - but I have talked with people who are not going to participate,” Gannon said.
“I commit to introduce legislation to restore voter privacy. “Political party choice is none of the governments business and should not be a public record, ” said John Gannon, an attorney and former legislator and unopposed candidate in the May 15 Primary for the Idaho House. “We are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on this primary. If the political parties want these records, let them get it through poll watchers at their own expense.”
Josh Peters, a graduating University of Idaho Senior, and Subway employee, said, “Our leaders should be chosen by everyday Idahoans, not party bosses. For that to happen citizens must participate, which won’t happen if their private information becomes public.” (Phone 850-2140 firstname.lastname@example.org)
Voters should have a choice and not be told what party to vote for, “Ray Gearry a military retiree said. (Phone 345-8106)
Gannon noted the United States Constitution references voting at least 6 times, and our Idaho Constitution guarantees a secret ballot.
Gannon said the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has just approved Washington’s “top two” primary system which allows much more voter freedom than Idaho’s rigid closed primary. “The simple step of recognizing the parties right of association by having voters publicly request a ballot at the voting place and not keeping a record should satisfy the courts.” Pollwatchers can keep track of that choice, but the clerks make no record of how people vote.
Gannon has been a longtime opponent of the closed primary. The Lewiston Morning Tribune 4 years ago called a version of present law a “Voter Alienation Bill”, and Gannon testified against it at Legislative hearings at that time. This year he protested the abolition of the Presidential Primary because the caucus method lacks absentee voting provisions, is longwinded, and inconvenient.
THE IDAHO CONSTITUTION GUARANTEES A
The right to vote is a tremendously important right. While we do not have a legal opinion that the Idaho Constitution prohibits public party registration as a violation of the secret ballot guarantee, records of party registration violate the spirit of this very important guarantee.
Article 1 Section 19: Right of Suffrage guaranteed – No power, civil or military, shall at any time interfere with or prevent the free and lawful exercise of the right of suffrage.”
Article VI Section 1: “Secret ballot guaranteed – All elections by the people must be by ballot. An absolutely secret ballot is hereby guaranteed, and it shall be the duty of the legislature to enact such laws as shall carry this section into effect. “
Attached are pages from the Idaho Constitutional Convention which discuss the intent of the secret ballot language. See for example Pages 1022-1023:
Mr.Gray ……. “I have seen too much of this, and I don’t want to see any more
of it. I don’t want any system by which they can trace a man’s vote.” … “I have
seen hundreds of Irishmen going and voting the Whig ticket because they had to.”
Mr.Armstrong ….”The object of this substitute I have introduced is simply to provide
a secret ballot. The legislature may provide a secret ballot, or shall do so. And that
working men may not by corporations be driven up to the polls and voted as they
choose to vote them.”
THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION GUARANTEES THE RIGHT TO VOTE IN MANY WAYS
No United States Constitutional provision specifically bans public records or political party registration, but the spirit of these provisions is to protect and extend the right to vote where that right has faced some kind of State obstacle.
Amendment 14 Section 1; “…No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, nor shall any State deprive any person of the life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.
Amendment 15. Section 1: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.”
Amendment 17. “The senate of the United States shall be composed of two senators from each state, elected by the people thereof…..
Amendment 19: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by and State on account of sex.
Amendment 24: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax. “
Amendment 26: “The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.”