Primary Preview: A Primer

by

There is much to consider before going to the polls Tuesday.

Primary Day 2012 is set up to be unlike any other because of redistricting, new polling locations and a closed Republican ballot.

The first thing you'll need to know is where to vote. Ada County has recrafted the borders of its precints for the first time in three decades. Election officials promised that they had mailed out thousands of instructional mailers to let voters be aware of the changes, but you can also look up your polling spot at Adacountyelection.com. Outside of Ada County, voters are urged to call their county's board of elections or county clerk's office. You can also access information through the Idaho Secretary of State's website.

Tens of thousands of Idahoans are still officially unaffiliated with any party, so Tuesday's check-in could be a bit cumbersome. You'll be asked to select Democrat, Republican, Constitution, Libertarian or unaffiliated. Then things get a bit complicated. If you are officially registered as a Republican, you'll be able to request a Republican, Democrat or nonpartisan ballot. But if you are registered with the Democrat, Constitution, Libertarian parties or choose to be unaffiliated, you'll be able to request a Democrat or nonpartisan ballot, but not a GOP ballot.

But be warned - if you choose a nonpartisan ballot, it's quite sparse. The nonpartisan ballot only contains judicial races and a few levies in select districts. And be doubly warned - once you have been handed a ballot, you can't change your mind and ask for a different party's ballot.

If you choose to change your party registration after Primary Day, you'll be able to do that beginning later this week. And of course on Election Day, all parties will be voting off of the same ballot in their district.

No fewer than 106 legislative seats are up for grabs this year. Republicans will face off in more than 60 races and Democrats face each other in 10 contests. Additionally, county commissioners, sheriffs, committeemen and women and several levies are on Tuesday's ballot.

Polls will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

While election officials will ask you to provide a photo ID, remember that you can also sign an affidavit if you don't have ID.