BOISE – Fewer than 10,000 of Idaho’s roughly 1 million registered voters switched their affiliation to Republican ahead of next week’s primary election, according to the Idaho Secretary of State’s office.
Idaho has long been a Republican stronghold. The Idaho Republican primary is closed, which means only registered Republicans are allowed to vote for GOP candidates.
From Feb. 25 through March 18, there were 9,599 registered voters who switched to the Republican party in Idaho, Nampa television station KIVI-TV reported. The majority – nearly 6,200 – were unaffiliated voters before they switched. About 3,200 more switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. About 150 voters were registered as Libertarian or Constitution party members.
More than 300 voters switched to the Democratic Party.
Switching affiliation for closed primaries is common in states where one political party holds strong sway, said Charles Hunt, assistant professor of political science in Boise State University’s School of Public Service.
“Democrats might reasonably look at the landscape and say, ‘Look, the only way my vote is ever going to have an impact in this election, really tangibly, is if I can vote in the primary,’ ” Hunt said.
Chief Deputy Secretary of State Chad Houck said there are about 300,000 unaffiliated voters statewide.
More than 546,000 voters are registered as Republican and nearly 130,000 voters are registered as Democrats. Fewer than 11,000 voters are Libertarian and just under 4,000 are members of the Constitution party.
The roughly 9,600 voters who switched to the Republican Party don’t represent a huge change but still could have an impact in some of the tighter races, Houck said.
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