TWIN FALLS — Polling locations around the Magic Valley were hit with a large number of voter registrations on Election Day.
In Twin Falls, a few precincts ran out of voter registration cards and had to be re-stocked, Twin Falls County Elections Director Valerie Varadi said.
“We underestimated the number of people who would be registering,” she said.
The county had already had hundreds of new registrations in the months preceding the general election. Including the early voter registrations, Twin Falls had an estimated 3,824 people register to vote on Election Day. Many of those were people changing their address and re-registering, and the elections department was still scrambling to tally them all late this week.
Most Magic Valley counties also reported higher-than-average voter turnout. As they were working to finalize election results, the Times-News reached out to see how south-central Idaho voter registration numbers compared to the May primary.
Twin Falls County
Voters registered in May 15 primary: 35,199
Voters registered in Nov. 6 election: 38,895 (10.5 percent increase)*
Election Day new voter registrations: 3,824*
*The numbers are based on preliminary estimates and are subject to change.
Twin Falls County’s voter turnout is estimated at about 64 percent.
“I think for a midterm it was up,” Varadi said. “Our early voting was quite steady. It was good to see so many people come out and vote.”
Voters registered in May 15 primary: 9,402
Voters registered in Nov. 6 election: 9,349
Election Day new voter registrations: Unknown
The Cassia County elections office did not return phone calls for information, and it’s unclear if the number of registered voters Nov. 6 includes the number of Election Day registrants. According to the county’s unofficial results, voter turnout was about 66.8 percent.
Voters registered in May 15 primary: 7,996
Voters registered in Nov. 6 election: 8,769 (9.7% increase)
Election Day new voter registrations: 767
Jerome County had voter turnout of 62.7 percent, Elections Supervisor Cy Lootens said. That’s about the same turnout as the previous governor election, he said, but the primary had turnout of only about 34 percent. Jerome County has gained about 2,000 voters in the past four years, Lootens said, but voter turnout has remained about the same.
Voters registered in May 15 primary: 12,771
Voters registered in Nov. 6 election: Unknown
Election Day new voter registrations: Unknown
The Blaine County elections office did not return calls for voter registration numbers by Friday, and the total number of registered voters was not available on the county’s website. County Clerk JoLynn Drage said the voter turnout was almost equal to the 2008 presidential election, and more than 5,000 people voted early.
“We had people complain because they had to stand in line for half an hour,” she said.
Voters registered in May 15 primary: 7,754
Voters registered in Nov. 6 election: 8,373 (8% increase)
Election Day new voter registrations: 647
Minidoka County reported voter turnout of 62.3 percent for the November midterm. The primary, in contrast, had 31.2 percent voter turnout.
Voters registered in May 15 primary: 6,157
Voters registered in Nov. 6 election: 6,553 (6.4% increase)
Election Day new voter registrations: 370
Gooding County usually has a high number of new registrations combined with re-registrations due to address changes, Election Deputy Clerk Jackie Fuqua said. The total voter turnout was about 68.2 percent this week, compared to a normal 20 to 30 percent turnout.
“If it’s a hot topic, it might be around 50 percent,” Fuqua said. “The majority of our voters come out for the bigger elections.”
She believes the ballot propositions was what helped drive the higher turnout on Tuesday.
Despite the higher turnout, the county staff had no trouble getting the ballots counted. They were out of the office by about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Voters registered in May 15 primary: 2,191
Voters registered in Nov. 6 election: 2,207 (0.7% increase)
Election Day new voter registrations: 95
Lincoln County had a 67.8 percent voter turnout, which was higher than expected and included an about average early voting number, Elections Deputy Sandy Conklin said. The primary, by comparison, had a voter turnout of 36.9 percent. Lincoln County has four voting locations, and took longer than usual to get its results out this year due to the number of write-ins that had to be counted by hand, Conklin said.
Voters registered in May 15 primary: 687
Voters registered in Nov. 6 election: 740 (7.7% increase)
Election Day new voter registrations: 51
Camas County had voter turnout of 73.5 percent — much higher than the 40 percent election workers anticipated. In the primary, voter turnout had been 36.4 percent.
“We were bombarded,” Deputy County Clerk Katherine Rablin said. “We were not prepared for such a high turnout. It was a busy day.”
The county has two precincts — one on the east side of Fairfield and one on the west. A lot of the new voter registrations were people who had changed their address or didn’t vote for a number of years so fell off the voter rolls, Rablin said.