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Politics & Government

Absentee, Early Voting Up Across Idaho Ahead Of Primary Election

Flickr Creative Commons
Idaho voters cast their ballots during the 2008 election.

More Idahoans are voting early or by absentee than they did four years ago in one of the most significant primary elections in recent memory.

Democrats are doing so at more than twice the rate they did four years ago. Across the state, just five out of the 44 counties tallied fewer Democratic Party ballots than they did in 2014 with a week to go before the primary election.

You can find an interactive county-by-county map of how many votes have been cast here.

Those counties include:

  • Bannock
  • Butte
  • Lemhi
  • Lewis
  • Power

Statewide, Democrats have six contested races to choose from compared to four races in 2014, with several candidates running for governor and both congressional districts.
In total, 2,270 more people have voted early so far in the Democratic Party primary.

Credit Courtesy of Ada County Clerk's office

That change isn’t just limited to Democrats. About 17 percent more Republicans have gone to the polls as well. The change sounds smaller than those of other political parties, but the the raw numbers are actually larger, which can be skewed because of the larger number of total ballots turned in.

Nearly half of Idaho’s counties saw a dip in Republicans casting ballots so far, but it’s buoyed by stronger turnout in Ada, Blaine, Gooding, Latah and Valley counties.

The number of unaffiliated, Constitution and Libertarian ballots cast has also jumped by 66 percent over the same time period.

24,785 absentee or early ballots had been counted statewide as of Tuesday. All in all, that’s about 13 percent of how many folks turned out to vote in 2014.

Voter registration has increased by 8,569 – most of whom have affiliated themselves with the Republican Party. The numbers don’t show much crossover by Democrats to vote in the closed Republican primary, according to the Spokesman Review.

Most Idaho voters have stayed home during the midterm primaries over the last 16 years. Just 25.9 percent of registered voters showed up to the polls in 2006 – the last time there was an open governor’s seat – with a high of 32.3 percent in 2006.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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