Early voting starts locally for May 20 primary

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- Early voting brings people out for a number of reasons, convenience for one thing.

"My husband works out of town," said Carla Allen of Kuna. "So we wanted to get it done today. He's off today."

And the issues, of course.

"The tax issue in Kuna schools," said Dennis Allen of Kuna. "That was a big one."

And for Ada County elections workers, this midterm vote is also a big one.

One of the things that makes this such a complicated election is the sheer volume of everything. Take the candidates. There are 444 people running for office in Ada County alone.

"And so we have to program the software and the computers to accurately account for when you fill in the oval for candidate A, it registers for candidate A," said Ada County Clerk Chris Rich. "Four hundred and forty-four is an awful lot of people."

Then there are the ballots themselves.

Some may have both a cemetery district and a school district levy on them.

Others may just have one or the other, and election workers must make sure the right ballots get to the right precincts.

Rich says this is also the first major test of the closed Republican primary system in Idaho.

"Just by the scope of it," he said. "We had one two years ago, but it was really just at the federal level that the candidates were running. we are now running a full slate of statewide candidates so there's far more emphasis on the party and the complexity of the ballot."

Best advice for voters?

"Just know your party and know what ballot you want," said Rich.

Oh, and don't forget that photo ID.

(Early voting in Ada County runs from April 28 to May 16, from 8 am to 5 pm. On Saturday May 10, from 10 am to 4 pm, early voting will also be available at Ada County Election Headquarters at 400 N. Benjamin Lane in Boise.