- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 8, 2016

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Republicans will head to the polls Tuesday for Idaho’s GOP presidential primary, and this year their votes should pack more of a punch.

After a change by the conservative state’s lawmakers last year, Idaho is holding its GOP primary in March instead of May. The state offers 32 delegates as a small but key political prize.

Previously, by the time Idaho Republicans cast their vote for president, the nominee was already determined. Moving up the primary allows Idaho to play a bigger role as candidates vie for delegates.

Here’s what else you need to know:

WHO GETS TO VOTE?

Only registered Republicans can vote in the GOP primary, and only Constitution Party voters can vote in the Constitution primary.

Voters can register to vote at their voting site until the polls close. Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. To register with a party, voters must have lived in the state for 30 days. They also must bring a photo identification, like a driver’s license, as well as proof of address, like a utility bill, or sign an affidavit if they don’t want to show their ID.

Don’t panic if you don’t know your polling place. The Idaho Secretary of State’s office has a website with polling place maps, voter registration information and other useful election material: http://www.idahovotes.gov/ .

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WHAT DOES THE GOP DO WITH MY VOTE?

In Idaho, the Republican Party uses a hybrid proportional system to determine which candidates get delegate votes at the national GOP convention. To get any of Idaho’s 32 delegates, a candidate must win at least 20 percent of the vote. But if no candidate reaches the 20 percent threshold, then the threshold is eliminated and delegates are distributed based on the percentage of votes each candidate wins. If one candidate gets more than 50 percent of votes, then that candidate is automatically awarded all 32 delegates.

It’s also possible that a single candidate could get all 32 delegates with just 20 percent of the vote - as long as all their opponents fall short of that number.

On the other hand, votes cast for the candidates who already dropped out of the GOP race could affect the final tally. That’s because all votes will be counted when it comes to allotting delegates, not just votes for the four candidates still running. Idaho’s ballot lists GOP 13 contenders because the filing deadline hit without any candidates formally withdrawing.

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WHO IS STILL IN THE RUNNING?

Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich are still vying to be the GOP nominee. Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Peter Messina, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum remain on the ballot though they’ve dropped out of the race.

Voters in the Constitution Party primary will choose between Scott Copeland, J.R. Myers and Patrick Anthony Ocklander.

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WHICH CANDIDATES HAVE BEEN ENDORSED?

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter is backing fellow Gov. John Kasich. Marco Rubio has won endorsements from billionaire businessman Frank VanderSloot and U.S. Sen. Jim Risch. U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador originally endorsed Rand Paul but threw his support behind Ted Cruz after Paul dropped out of the race.

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WHAT ABOUT THE DEMOCRATS?

The state’s minority party will hold its caucus March 22. Any registered voter can participate in the Democratic Presidential Caucus, provided they didn’t cast a vote in the March 8 primary.

Democratic Idahoans will choose between Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders

Dean Ferguson, spokesman for the state Democratic party, said the state received three additional delegates - for a total of 27 - for holding their caucuses the same day as Utah and Arizona. It was part of a Democratic National Committee effort to encourage regional participation.

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