Posts tagged: turnout
There was a half-hour wait to vote at my polling place this morning; one guy ahead of me in line gave up and left. A young mom with first-grader in tow waited all the way through the line, only to find out she wasn't in the book, though this was where she'd always voted; after much scrutinizing of maps, she was sent to a different polling place. There's high interest in today's election; many people's polling places have changed due to redistricting (mine had). You can confirm your polling place online before you go by going to www.idahovotes.gov and entering your address.
Lines are likely today if you go during the busiest times - before work, during the noon hour, or after 5, so allow time. (Oddly, at my polling place, the line was much longer for those whose names begin with A though L - I was one of the lucky M-through-Z'ers). And the ballot itself is quite long - two full legal-sized pages, front and back.
Gary Moncrief, a Boise State University political scientist who studies elections, said, “Turnout is going to be huge.” Asked his advice to voters, Moncrief said, “Bring a lunch - bring a snack. You may be in line a long time.”
Idaho’s state Board of Canvassers met today to certify the results of the Nov. 2 election, and here’s the news: Just 58.1 percent of Idaho’s registered voters cast ballots. That’s the lowest turnout for a midterm election since 1978 (that year it was 56.51 percent), and well below the Idaho Secretary of State’s office forecast of 63 percent. That forecast, based in part on heavy early voting and fairly high interest in candidates and issues, simply was off, said Tim Hurst, chief deputy secretary of state, and it’s not clear why. The percentage of Idaho’s voting-age population that cast ballots, based on the official results and U.S. Census figures, came in at 40 percent, Hurst said. “It’s still the lowest in years,” he said. “People just for some reason didn’t show up. We’ve always talked about how candidates and issues are what get people out to vote, and we had candidates, we had issues, and nobody voted. I don’t have an explanation.”
One piece of good news from the final canvass of the election results: Nothing changed from the unofficial results the morning after the election. That means Idaho’s election-night count was accurate. Turnout figures as a percentage of registered voters aren’t apparent in those early results, because Idaho has same-day registration.
Looking ahead to Tuesday’s election, Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa is predicting strong voter turnout for a non-presidential year election, with 63 to 64 percent of registered voters casting ballots, “which would be our highest non-presidential year turnout since ‘94.”
“Candidates and issues make turnout,” Ysursa said, “and I think we’ve got competitive races out there that are driving the turnout.” Among the many decisions awaiting Idaho voters are whether to keep or replace the state’s governor and members of Congress, four state constitutional amendments, races for an array of county and statewide offices, and votes on every seat in the state Legislature. There’s more information on all of those in our online Voter Guide here; and there’s info for voters on the state’s voter information site here.