Idaho’s May 15 primary election is fast approaching and because of some big changes, election officials around the state are expecting a challenging time. In the May primary, voters must pick their political party and vote only that ballot. “A lot of people are not going to want to declare a party choice,” said Ada County Clerk Chris Rich. “We know this from experience.” And, according to the Idaho Secretary of State’s office, 649,645 registered voters have yet to declare a party choice. But under a new idaho law, voters must declare their political affiliation unless the party says otherwise.
The Idaho Republican Party is keeping its primary closed while Democrats have opened theirs. And to add further confusion, ballots for unaffiliated, or independent, voters contain only three judicial candidates — all running unopposed.
“If you want to participate in federal, state and county elections, you have to choose a partisan ballot, either Democrat or Republican,” Rich said. He worries people will get ballots they don’t want. “And once you’ve made your choice, you can’t return the ballot,” he said. “You’re stuck with it.”