Idaho Press: Nearly 372,000 Idahoans request primary election ballots

We won’t know for another 13 days, but turnout for this year’s primary election could turn out to be a record-setter.

Close to 372,000 Idahoans have requested ballots, representing 42 percent of the state’s registered voters, Ryan Suppe of the Idaho Press reported Tuesday.

That means Idaho could set a record for primary election turnout. Two years ago, about 269,000 Idahoans voted in party primaries, which translates to 33 percent turnout.

For the first time, Idaho is conducting an all vote-by-mail election, as the coronavirus pandemic has forced a shutdown of traditional polling places. Some elections officials had feared the shift to vote-by-mail would further drive down voter turnout — which is historically far lower for party primaries.

“It’s definitely been different than I would have expected,” Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane told Suppe.

Tuesday was the regularly scheduled primary date, and the deadline for voters to request an absentee ballot.

The next deadline comes June 2. That’s when voters need to get their ballots in to their local county clerk. Elections officials will tally the vote count and announce the results the night of June 2.

More reading: For this unusual election, “Everything has changed.” Also, take a deep dive into campaign finance reports.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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