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It’s time to vote

People across Idaho will be able to vote in the primary elections May 15. Here are a few things you need to know.

Why it matters

The state government controls a lot of students daily lives. Legislation on hunting, school safety, road safety, healthcare and taxes affect citizens across the state. For example, if property taxes rise, rent rises.


This isn’t the final election of the year. Primary elections are held to narrow the field of candidates running for government offices. Typically, primary elections narrow multiple candidates down to one for the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, respectively.

Idaho Voting Laws

Due to a law signed in 2011, Idaho primaries are closed primaries. This means people cannot vote for anyone they want in this election. Idaho law states that during primary elections only people affiliated with a party can vote for that party. Republicans can only vote for Republican candidates and Democrats can only vote for Democratic candidates. The only exception to this is when a party decides to allow individuals outside of their party to vote in their primary.

According to Madison County, if an individual is unaffiliated with a party, they can choose to join a party that same day. If they are already with a party, they cannot change parties unless they are reregistering to vote because they had previously moved.

There are multiple ballot types that citizens can use to vote depending on their affiliation: Republican, Democratic, non-partisan and Constitution. Republicans will have the option of using the Republican, Democratic and non-partisan ballots. Democrats and Libertarians will have the option of using the Democratic and non-partisan ballots. Members of the Constitution Party will have the option of using the Constitution, Democratic and non-partisan Ballots. Unaffiliated voters, or Independent Voters will have the option of using the Democratic or non-artisan ballots.

Rexburg Polling Places

There are 20 polling places in Rexburg for this primary. The polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Where you live dictates which poll to go to. You can find out more at apps.idahovotes.gov/YourPollingPlace/WhereDoIVote.aspx

The Candidates

There are over 30 candidates running for offices this primary election. Below are some of the candidates.

Running for Governor

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter will not be running for reelection this year, so the race for governor is open.

Republican Candidates

Rep. Raul Labrador

Labrador has represented Idaho in the 1st Congressional District since 2011 and was a partner of a law firm before that. Labrador’s website shows a list of policies he wants to fight for if he is elected governor, including fighting against the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), fighting for traditional marriage, for Idaho’s Second Amendments Rights, term limits and tax cuts.

Lt. Gov. Brad Little

Little is currently the lieutenant governor of Idaho and has served in this position since January 6, 2009. According to Little’s website, he emphasizes family values. His platform consists of helping native Idahoans stay in Idaho instead of leaving the state by creating new jobs and opportunities for them here, defending the Second Amendment, opposing the federalization of education and lowering taxes and health care costs in Idaho.

Tommy Ahlquist

Ahlquist is a businessman and former emergency room doctor. According to his website, he has spent his entire professional career in Idaho. His campaign focuses on limited government, helping small businesses grow, education, tax reform, traditional marriage, the Second Amendment, term limits and helping native Idahoans remain in Idaho instead of leaving for jobs.

Democratic Candidates

Paulette Jordan

Jordan is a former Democratic member of Idaho’s House of Representatives. She resigned in order to run for governor. According to Ballotpedia, her top three priorities are improving our public education system, Pre-K through post-secondary; ensuring healthcare is affordable and accessible to all citizens and protecting and managing our state resources to keep public lands in public hands. If Jordan wins, she would be this nations first Native American governor.

A.J. Balukoff

Balukoff ran for governor in 2014 but lost against Otter. According to Balukoff’s campaign site, he has worked to create multiple businesses in Idaho. He is also a Boise School District trustee. He runs on a platform of investing in education, healthcare, keeping public lands away from “to special interests and out-of-state billionaires” and fixing the pay gap between men and women in the state.

Peter Dill

According to Dill’s campaign site, Dill calls himself a conservative Democrat because he believes in “personal responsibility.

I believe in fiscal responsibility,” he said on his campaign site. “I care about the life of the unborn … I care deeply about the poor. I am an advocate for the environment.”

Dill’s platform consists of five main issues: education, healthcare, creating new job opportunities, stewardship of natural resources, and helping Idaho’s struggling citizens.

House District 34

Rexburg is in District 34 of the Idaho House of Representatives and are currently represented by Ron Nate and Dell Raybould, according to Ballotpedia. Primary seat 34A is up for grabs, and Reps. Nate is running against Doug Ricks, both employees of BYU-Idaho.

Ron Nate

Nate is an economics professor at BYU-I and was elected to Seat 34A in 2014. According to his website, he currently serves on the Revenue and Taxation; Energy, Environment, and Technology; and Judiciary, Rules, and Administration committees. His website says all legislation he reviews must be constitutional, economically feasible and morally sound.

Doug Ricks

Ricks is currently the assistive technology coordinator for BYU-I and was a candidate for seat 34A in 2016, according to Ballotpedia. Rick’s website says we can do better with the economy, and he will promote policies that will help east Idaho grow. He wants to work with teachers to help and help improve the quality of education students receive.


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