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Everything you need to know for the primaries

On Monday the Idaho State Bar released its latest statewide survey results for the local judicial races.

But, it’s up to the voters this primary election to determine which judges will come out the winners.

Lately there have been questions circulating among voters about who can vote for whom in this primary election.

So, we decided to lay it all out for those who still might have some questions.

What is a primary election?

A primary election just means voters choose which candidate from their political party will appear on the November ballot (also known as the general election). For those candidates running uncontested, they will move onto the November ballot, regardless.

Think of it as a game show: you have to pass the first round (the primaries) in order to move onto the next (the general election).

In the primaries, party candidates for the Idaho Legislature in both the House and the Senate will be chosen as well as the state’s United States congressional Senators and Representatives. You can also vote for candidates for: Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, State Controller, Treasurer, Attorney General, and Superintendent of Public Instruction.

In this election, voters can also vote for judges and for local issues. These results are final. Meaning, the winners of the judicial race and the issue results don’t move on to the November election.

Am I allowed to vote on any ballot?

No. That’s the simple answer.

The elaborate answer is yes, and here’s why:

There are three ballots – the republican ballot, the democrat ballot, and the non-partisan ballot. Voters who are registered as a republican can vote on any of the three ballots. But voters who are either registered as anything else or unaffiliated with any party can only vote on either the democrat ballot or the non-partisan ballot.

(Deep breath. Still following? Good!)

So that means no matter what, who can I vote for?

So, that means, no matter what, you can vote for judges, local issues such as Prop. 1 in Pocatello (also known as the Non-discrimination Ordinance), or anything else listed on that ballot. But you can’t touch the republican ballot unless you’re registered as a republican.

Unaffiliated voters can register on the day of voting as a republican and then unaffiliate the next day.

So, when can I vote?

Election day is May 20 for the primaries, and November 4 is the general election. For those living in Bannock County, visit this website here: in order to see where you can vote and how to register.

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