A student voter’s guide to the midterm elections

Idaho capitol building, Idaho legislature reconvenes to discuss COVID bills
Photo by Claire Keener

Whether you are voting for the first time or you’ve been voting for years, participating in the election process can be daunting for many college students. Luckily, it’s not as intimidating as it might seem. Understanding a few key concepts and resources relating to voting can make the process much easier.

College-aged voters, ranging from 18-24, had a 51.4% voter turnout in the 2020 elections, the lowest turnout of any age group, according to data from the Census Bureau

Boise has a population of roughly 228,000 individuals as of the 2020 according to the United States Census. In the same year, Boise State University reported having over 24,000 students, meaning that Boise State students represent over 10% of Boise’s total population. 

Making up such a large portion of the population means that it is essential for college students to go to the polls and share their voices. 

Election day is Nov. 8, but early voting is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until Nov. 4. Early voting does not take place at your designated polling place, but rather at a handful of locations including Boise City Hall and Ada County Elections office. 

Voter Registration

To vote in Idaho’s election, you must complete voter registration. If you have previously voted in Idaho, you do not need to register for a second time.

Out-of-state students that attend Boise State can still register to vote in Idaho if they can either provide a valid school ID from an in-state university or provide a student fee statement that includes a valid in-state address.

Idaho is one of 22 states that allow for same-day voter registration, meaning you do not have to register by a specific date to be eligible to vote. Early registration closed in Idaho on Oct. 14. However, those wanting to register at their polling place can still do so on election day as long as they provide all required documentation. 

Here is what is on the ballot for the 2022 elections.

State and Federal Elections

Idaho capitol building, Idaho legislature reconvenes to discuss COVID bills
[Photo from inside the Idaho Capitol Building.]
Claire Keener | The Arbiter

At the Federal level, Idaho has one Senate seat up for election, with Republican incumbent Mike Crapo running against Democratic candidate David Roth. A few additional candidates are running for the position as Independents. 

Idaho will also elect two representatives to Congress, but depending on which District they live in, voters will only cast ballots for one. The state is divided into two legislative districts, and parts of Boise fall into both District 1 and District 2, so figuring out which district you are in is important.

District 1 candidates include incumbent Russ Fulcher (Republican), Kaylee Peterson (Democrat), and Darian Drank (Libertarian). The candidates for District 2 are incumbent Mike Simpson (Republican) and Wendy Norman (Democrat). 

Idahoans can determine which district they live in and view a sample ballot prior to the election by entering their address in the Ada County Polling Place locator

At the state level, Idaho governor is up for election, with incumbent Brad Little facing four challengers, including Democrat Stephen Heidt and Independent Ammon Bundy. 

Lieutenant governor is also on the ballot this year, and incumbent Janice McGeachin will not be on it. Republican Scott Bedke is running for the position against Democrat Terri Pickens Manweiler and Constitution Party member Pro Life, formerly known as Marvin Richardson. 

Several other state positions including secretary of state, state controller and attorney general are also on the ballot.

Local Elections

Local elections are often overlooked, but are just as important as state and federal elections. This year’s ballot includes elections for the county commissioner of several districts and county sheriff. 

Several positions including clerk of the district court and county treasurer have candidates running unopposed. 

This year’s ballot also includes four positions on the College of Western Idaho’s Board of Trustees, with one open seat and incumbents Molly Lenty, Annie Hightower and Jim Reames all being challenged. 

All candidates attempting to unseat an incumbent have been backed by the Ada County GOP Central Committee, and there has been concern that this could impact the nonpartisan nature of the committee.

Special Topics

Beyond the traditional election, this year’s ballot contains two questions — the first, and more impactful, question is whether or not you are in support of Idaho Constitutional Amendment SJR 102. This amendment would give the Idaho Legislature the authority to call a special session if 60% of the members are in favor. 

Idaho law only allows the governor to call a special session, which was recently seen when Gov. Little called a special session in August to address Idaho’s budget surplus. Idaho is one of 14 states that only allow the governor to call a special session, with the majority of states allowing their legislatures to call them as well.

The ballot also contains a nonbinding “Idaho Advisory Question” asking whether or not you approve of the recent action that Gov. Little and the Idaho Legislature took on taxes and funding for education. Even if the majority of voters disapprove of the action, it will not cause the law to be revoked or changed in any manner. 

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