Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney isn’t offering a turnout prediction for tomorrow’s Idaho primary election, but he is urging people to vote. “I think there are some very interesting local races, some sheriff and county commission races,” he noted. Plus, there’s a four-way Idaho Supreme Court race atop the ticket, and contested legislative races across the state.
“I think the turnout is certainly driven by the number of candidates on the ballot,” Denney said. “I don’t want to say it’s going to be a low turnout, because I think it’ll be high in some places and low in others.”
He said the only word he’s gotten from counties so far is that Ada County, the state’s most-populated county, has seen lower-than-normal absentee balloting and early voting in advance of the election.
Idaho has seen low and declining turnout in its primary elections for years; it’s hovered around 25 percent of registered voters for the past decade, far off the 1980 level of 41 percent. This year has a new factor: Idahoans already voted in a new presidential-only primary election on May 8, which saw turnout hit nearly 30 percent, with 29,069 previously unregistered voters registering at the polls. Denney said he’d attribute that to “the Trump factor – people were either very enthused to get out and vote for him, or very enthused to get out and vote against him.”
But, he said, “There were a lot of new registrants then. And I think they may be more politically involved than they were before, and perhaps they will continue that and get out and vote.” He added that he really doesn’t know. “If you can get people out to vote, just do it,” he said.
While tomorrow's vote is a primary election, there are also nonpartisan issues on the ballot on which anyone, from any party or no party, can vote; those are topped by the Idaho Supreme Court race, and also include some local ballot measures around the state. Republicans, Democrats and Constitution Party members all will have primary races to consider. And with Idaho's same-day voter registration, anyone 18 or older who is a U.S. citizen and has been a resident of Idaho and their county for 30 days prior to the election can bring photo ID and proof of address and register and vote right at the polls on election day. The polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; there's voter information online here. Also, the S-R has info on statewide and North Idaho races at our Elections page here, including my profiles of the four Idaho Supreme Court candidates here.