If you haven’t heard, there is a primary election happening in Idaho this Tuesday. It’s understandable if you aren’t aware, though. Primary elections typically have a lower turnout than a general election in November. However, it’s not too late, and we hope you will take the time to vote on Tuesday, May 17, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. local time.
Why are primaries so important? For starters, in a state like Idaho, many races will be determined, in large part, by the primary elections. Yes, candidates must run for office in November’s general election, but for most districts in Idaho, Republicans command formidable majorities of voters. In dozens of districts across the state, the Idaho Democratic Party doesn’t even bother running a candidate at all. Therefore, in order to make your voice heard and leave a lasting impact, we highly encourage you to vote in the primary.
Perhaps you’re unsure of the candidates, their positions, or who you will be voting for? Don’t worry, the Idaho Republican Party has compiled the most comprehensive list of candidates and their platform issues on our website at IDGOP.org! Look under our “2022 Voter Guide” to learn more about these contests and discover the best ways to contact campaigns if you have questions. Being an informed voter is crucial in today’s elections, and that’s part of the services and resources we provide through the IDGOP during primary elections.
Another important reason to engage in primary elections is to elect precinct committee officers in your local county. A precinct committee officer is one of the most important roles in your community. These are the boots-on-the-ground Republicans that make up the County Central Committee (County GOP) and help fill vacancies in elected office should they arise. If we’ve learned anything over the last several election cycles, it’s that local politics matter.
Your precinct committee officers, much like your school boards and city councils, are rooted in every community and heavily influence what you see and experience in your everyday life. Many people choose to not engage in these local contests, but we encourage you to break that cycle and vote for local leaders up and down the ballot!
It’s no secret that primary elections can become messy. When friends, family members, neighbors, and colleagues campaign against one another from the same team, tensions will inevitably run high. Through all of these elections, we want to remind folks of the real reason we have primary elections. Despite our general agreement on 80 percent of the issues, primaries allow candidates and campaigns to discuss and debate the 15 to 20 percent that we disagree on and determine who is best suited to carry the Republican banner into the general election.
Now is the time for the people to choose who will best represent their core values and political beliefs in the general election, and after the primary, the Party will unite around who the people have chosen. The Republican Party believes the people are the ultimate judge on who should represent them, which is why we remain neutral during contested primaries.
On Tuesday, May 17, federal offices, your seven statewide constitutional officers, state legislative candidates, and many county and local candidates will be on the ballot. Get out and vote your conscience. Don’t sit these elections out! Your voice matters!
Tyler Kelly is the executive director of the Idaho Republican Party.