High voter turnout expected in Idaho

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by Justin Corr

NWCN.com

Posted on October 14, 2012 at 3:59 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 22 at 10:56 PM

BOISE -- It's a little more than three weeks until the general election, and the Secretary of State says voter turnout in Idaho could reach record levels.

Secretary Ben Ysursa estimates 75% to 80% of Idaho's registered voters will vote in this year's general election. But why?

KTVB Political Analyst Jim Weatherby says there's no close statewide races. And, many positions, like governor, lieutenant governor, and superintendent of public instruction, aren't even on the ballot. But, what is on the ballot, is the President of the United States.

"In a presidential election year, people generally turn out," says Weatherby.

Idaho hasn't seen less than a 70% turnout for a presidential election in recent history. So, that's almost guaranteed. But, if this year's turnout reaches 80%, it would be the best state turnout in 20 years. The 1992 race between Bush, Clinton, and Perot drew 80%. So what else might be propeling a high turnout this year?

"Often, ballot measures like this do drive people to the polls," says Weatherby.

Also on the ballot, are the education reform measures, Props 1, 2, and 3. Weatherby says they've already dwarfed everything else in this election, and will be another big reason people show up to vote in November.

"There's a strong base of support out there for public schools," says Weatherby. "It's been demonstrated by all the supplemental levies that have passed in the last few months. Property tax for levies themselves are up to $170 million. So, there's a huge base of support for education. The question is, how do these voters view these measures?"

But the question is also how these voters will weigh city and county elections, many of which Weatherby says, will be close.

"That's an interesting question, in terms of, who these voters are," said Weatherby. "Once they vote for the ballot measure, what else will they do? We won't know until election night. Stay tuned to channel seven."

The potential turnout will be even more impressive when compared to the turnout in the primary this year (around 24%) which was historically low.

Also, if you don't want to wait to vote in November, you're in luck. Early in-person voting starts Monday in Ada County. It's already underway in Canyon County.

From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, you can cast your early in-person vote at the Ada County Elections Office. That's at 400 North Benjamin Lane in Boise.

If you're in Canyon County, you can cast your ballot at 1102 East Chicago Street in Caldwell from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Absentee voting is also underway.

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