'Blue Wave' overcomes Ada County election officials

Ada County Chief Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane points to a chart showing Democratic voter turn out in Tuesday's primary election. (KBOI photo)

Democrats in Ada County blew away official expectations in Tuesday's primary, tripling the turn out Tuesday compared to the Democratic gubernatorial primary four years ago and creating ballots shortages in a few polling places.

"We always have a cushion for higher turn out but we use this historical information to predict how many ballots to print and how to handle the election," says Ada County Chief Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane, "and there was no way for us to see such a high turn out coming."

The county believed it had printed enough Democratic ballots for more than double the turn out and didn't want to overprint.

"Ballots are one of most expensive part of election because of security measures we do," says McGrane. "We already throw away hundreds of thousands of dollars in ballots just on unused ballots after elections."

The county says it reacted quickly to a shortage of Democratic ballots.

But the Idaho Democratic Party did ask a judge to keep at least two polling places open longer Tuesday night, a request the judge denied.

Republican voter turn out was also at an all-time high going back to 1994, the county says, but was more in line with trends so enough ballots were already printed.

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