Eye On Boise

TUESDAY, NOV. 4, 2008, 4:40 P.M.

‘As big or bigger than we thought’

Turnout in Idaho so far is big. “It’s looking as big or bigger than we thought,” said Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, who predicted a record turnout of 700,000, or 80 percent of registered voters. “I’ve heard good reports about not taking too long to vote, so we would hope the huge early voting is alleviating the stress on Election Day, which of course is the goal,” Ysursa said. “But the big voting time is from 5 to 8 – we’re right at it now. We’ll have to wait and see if it all works out.”

There are reports of heavy same-day registration at the polls, which only Idaho and seven other states allow, Ysursa said. There also have been some reports of counties “running a little short on ballots.” That means they’ll have to copy off more, and the copied ballots can’t be run in optical-scan machines, so it’ll take longer to count them. Unlike most states, Idaho doesn’t know in advance exactly how many voters might show up at the polls, due to its same-day registration. “There’s no magic to it – they have to go copy off ballots and end up making sure everybody gets a ballot,” Ysursa said, adding, “It’s a good problem to have. You don’t want any problems, but the problem of huge turnout it better than having low turnout. It’s huge, we all predicted it.”

The top question among voters are calling in to the Secretary of State’s office today: “Where do I go to vote?” Ysursa notes that that information also is available online at www.idahovotes.gov.

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