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‘Well-oiled machine’ pumps out election results in record time

Ballots in the Bannock County Elections Office
The Bannock County Elections Office had Tuesday's results posted in record time.

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The Bannock County Elections Office was able to release results Tuesday shortly after 10 p.m. - over an hour earlier than originally expected.

Though voter turnout is generally much lighter during March elections - just under 30% of Bannock County's registered voters cast a ballot Tuesday - the office always plans for problems.

"We didn't have any of those issues last night," Bannock County Clerk Jason Dixon said.

During each election, the Bannock County office uses the same staff in the same positions to get the job done. Dixon called them a "well-oiled machine."

"They just know every step of this scenario," he said.

In addition to having a prepared staff, Dixon said all of the precincts reported on time and none of the machines jammed, things they usually don't expect. The office also did not see any write-ins and had a low number of resolutions.

"All of those things combined just got us done really quick," he said. "It was great."

While the counting process went on without a hitch, some dealt with problems at the booth.

"They tried to give me a Republican ballot, I didn’t want to vote Republican, I told them that," Linda Fitzen, a Pocatello resident, said. "'Well you’re down here as a republican,’ and I said, ‘but I’m not.’ I don’t know how it got changed, but I am not."

Outvote results
An Outvote search shows that Linda Fitzen is a Republican.

According to Outvote, an app that sources voting data from publically available records, Fitzen is a registered Republican. She said she was a registered member of the party in the past but has been voting for democrats recently without any problems.

Fitzen said she was eventually allowed to vote on the Democratic ballot. She was unsure if any changes had been made to her affiliation.

Since 2011, a law has restricted who affiliated members of political parties can vote for in primary elections. For example, a registered Republican can only vote Republican and a registered Democrat can only vote Democrat - but there are exceptions.

During Tuesday's election, only affiliated Republicans could only vote on the Republican ballot, while both unaffiliated voters and democratic voters could vote on the democratic ballot.

In order for a Republican to vote on the Democratic ballot, they would have to go unaffiliated or switch their affiliation. Inversely, a Democrat would have to affiliate as a Republican to vote on the Republican ballot.

"So you can see why people get confused," Dixon said. "It’s not necessarily the easiest thing. It would be wonderful if it was just mandated that you had to do it the same if both parties had to do it the same way. That would clear up all the confusion, that would be great."

If you are a voter who generally votes Republican but switched to vote in Tuesday's primary, you must change your affiliation back to Republican so that you can vote as a Republican in May.

2020 Presidential Race / Idaho / Idaho Politics / Local News / Pocatello / Politics / Regional News / Top Stories

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