Voters must designate party affiliation during Idaho Primary

LEWISTON, ID - The Idaho Primary is May 15th and things are a bit different this time around.

The Republican primary is now closed. That means voters have to designate their affiliation with the party if they want to vote Republican. They can do that ahead of time by filling out a Political Party Affiliation Declaration Form or simply telling poll workers on voting day they wish to affiliate with the Republican party. If a voter does affiliate with the GOP, he or she can still ask for a Democrat or non-partisan ballot. However, if a voter chooses to register as a democrat or remain unaffiliated, he or she can not ask for a Republican ballot.

"As you know and I know, there will be people that show up at the polls, and I think some of them will be a little disgruntled that they have to indicate which party their voting in," said Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa.

"We have about 21,000 registered voters, (and) only about a thousand have affiliated with a political party," said Nez Perce County Clerk/Auditor Patty Weeks. "So there's a lot of people not participating yet. I hope that they will participate."

One loophole in the process is a voter can affiliate with a party on election day, then switch his or her affiliation the next day. But after this election, voters will have to affiliate by the candidate filing deadline. However, they can still change their affiliation after election day.