- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 21, 2014

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Voting went smoothly during Idaho’s primary except for a malfunctioning ballot machine in central Idaho and a ballot shortage in Kuna in southwest Idaho.

“There’s always a hiccup here and there, but overall we’re happy with it,” said Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa.

The worst problem on Tuesday involved a ballot machine in Blaine County and resulted in officials taking about 2,300 ballots south to be counted in Twin Falls County.

“The clerk didn’t have confidence in the way the machine was running,” Ysursa said Wednesday. He said poll workers in Kuna overcame the ballot shortage by photocopying ballots for waiting voters.

“When you get caught in a bind like that you do what you can to accommodate the voters,” he said.

Officials say more voters turned out in that area because of a school levy and gubernatorial candidate Sen. Russ Fulcher, whose district includes Kuna. Fulcher lost to Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter in the Republican primary.

Ysursa said some confusion also occurred in a few places involving registered voters with no party preference but who could opt on Election Day to affiliate with Republicans and vote in that party’s closed primary. They could also opt to get an unaffiliated ballot or vote in the Democratic primary.

“The main question had to do with what ballot the unaffiliated voter could get,” Ysursa said. “Those questions are a constant voter education challenge as well as a poll worker education challenge.”

He said turnout was a disappointing 25 percent, with about 190,000 people casting ballots. He said the closed Republican primary likely played a role, but noted that some previous primary elections where the Republican primary wasn’t closed have also been in the 25 percent range.

“In my opinion we need to improve on that,” he said, adding the solution is hard to find. “That’s something I’ve tried to answer the last 40 years working here.”

Ysursa opted not to run for another term and is retiring at the end of the year.


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