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Local elections expected to draw larger voter turnout

Although local elections have traditionally seen a poor voter turnout rates, election officials say this year, it will be different.

Bannock County Clerk Dale Hatch said this year, the county is looking at 1,500 absentee voters as compared to the average 500 during past city elections.

“The last election the city of Pocatello was at 21-percent, but I think it’s going to be closer to 50 percent this year,” Hatch said.

He said the reason for the high turnout is possibly due to the especially heated mayoral race taking place in Pocatello this year, which is why Chubbuck and Pocatello account for the majority of voter turnout in Bannock County, as opposed to other cities whose mayoral races are uncontested, such as Lava Hot Springs and McCammon.

Bingham County Clerk Marlene Jensen also noted city officials will be expecting a high voter turnout this year. Not only is there a competitive Blackfoot mayoral race, but Shelley will be looking at hot ballot issues such as the library bond, which is expected to up the voter turnout.

She said Blackfoot usually accounts for 17 percent of the voter turnout, which is low, considering Bingham County has one of the highest turnout rates for state elections.

Jensen said her office has already received about 60 percent of returned mail-in ballots, which is a good indicator of a high turnout rate during Tuesday’s election.

She estimates close to 4,000 voters will come out out of the 19,000 registered voters in the county. Out of those registered, 11,000 are eligible to vote.

Election official Penny Manning expects a high voter turnout in Bonneville County as well, comparing this year’s race to the one in 2005, where there was a 48 percent turnout since there were no incumbents running in the Idaho Falls mayoral race that year, either.

She also mentioned Ammon’s contested mayoral race will also help draw in a big turnout.

To see a list of contested races in eastern Idaho, go to http://

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