Surge in voter registrations ahead of election

Rise in voter registrations ahead of election.

ADA COUNTY -- This upcoming general election is bound to bring out new voters across the country, and that's already proving to be the case in Idaho.

Ada County says they are currently seeing a surge in people registering to vote. Elections offices and party officials across the Gem State are hoping that number keeps rising before the Friday, October 14, pre-registration deadline.

"The new registration in a presidential year, we almost exclusively attribute to the fact that people are excited about the elections," Idaho Democratic Party Political Director Thomas Hamilton told KTVB, "and we have, of course, population growth."

That population growth is apparent in Idaho's largest county: Ada County.

"Right now if you enter our Elections lobby you'll see lots of people coming in to register to vote," Ada County Chief Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane said.

McGrane adds that since September 1, about 9,500 people have registered to vote in the county. He estimates come Election Day, there will be about 40,000 same-day registrations in Ada County.

"Whether that's new people moving into the community or, really what we see is most common, is people moving around within the community," McGrane said.

The upswing in new registrations is something both the Democratic and Republican parties anticipate across the state. A large number of new registrations happens in November because residents are able to register at the polls in Idaho.

As of Sept. 1, there were close to 774,000 registered voters in the Gem State - which is up about 35,000 since January of this year. However, that number can be attributed to many different factors, and doesn't necessarily mean all of those registered voters are new, first-time voters.

"New voter registration is up. In fact, all voter registration for our party is up. This year we are around 80,000 new additional registered Republicans that we've added to the polls in this year alone," Idaho Republican Party Executive Director David Johnston said.

According to the Idaho Secretary of State website, the Democratic party has seen about 8,000 newly affiliated Dems between January and September of this year. Both parties had major participation from young voters.

"We saw a lot of young people participating in the caucus," Hamilton added.

Secretary of State data shows there were close to 40,000 newly registered, first-time voters in the presidential primary election in Idaho.

"This growth is substantial and is different from previous election cycles since we've been tracking the data and information for it," Johnston added.

Republican party officials say we're going to see a whole new part of the electorate turning out in November, which can be attributed to an unusual presidential election year that is garnering a lot of attention and firing Americans up.

Officials are projecting that excitement will lead to a 75 percent voter turn out this year.

"So far all our activity is pretty similar to what we were seeing in 2012," McGrane told KTVB. "This is generally the pattern we see just before the big elections."

When you are registering to vote, you will need your photo ID and proof of address. You must be at least 18 years old, a United States citizen and lived in the county you're registering for 30 days before Election Day. You are not allowed to register if you are a convicted felon and haven't had your civil rights restored.

To find out if you're already registered, head to this link on

Early voting kicked off on Tuesday, October 11, in Canyon County and begins Monday, October 17, in Ada County. There are four permanent locations and a mobile trailer in Ada County that will reach voters ahead of Election Day. View the early voting locations and times here.

Copyright 2016 KTVB


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