Idaho has 4 political parties and a designated unaffiliated status: Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, Constitutional and Unaffiliated. In election years there are two rounds of voting; a party primary and the general election. The intent is that the best candidate of each party will be elected in the Primary and these winners will compete in the General Election. Sadly this intent has gone awry in the last decade.

In 2011 a law went into effect that allows parties to restrict voting in the primary. The Republican party chose to require voters to register as a Republican in order to vote for their candidates in the Primary. 

Unaffiliated voters can no longer receive a ballot with Republican candidates on it unless they register as Republican first!

If you want to make your vote count in the Primary – you must register as a Republican in order to choose the best Republican candidate who will then move on to the general election.

For many Idaho voters, this was an insult. In general, Idahoans have always been independent, free thinking, and conservative leaning. They like to look at all the candidates in all parties and determine where to place their vote. At NIVS, we believe that voters should be able to vote for the candidates they want. We also believe in the rule of law. Until this law is changed we must live within the system. We can do both.


1. Register Republican for the Primary.  (If you ask for an unaffiliated ballot, there will be NO CANDIDATES for you to vote for) Registrations are not permanent you can change back. 

  • Online: visit 
  • In person or through the mail: Call or visit your county elections office to complete the proper forms.

2.  Request an Absentee Ballot for convenient voting: 

  • Online:
  •  By Mail: Print the forms and mail them to the elections office.
  • In person: visit your county elections office to complete the proper forms.

3.  VOTE IN THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY.  For the last few decades, the election is won in this primary.

  • Vote by Absentee Ballot 
  • Vote Early two weeks prior to the election at the County office M-F, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
  • Vote On Election Day from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.

None of our founding fathers were too keen on the idea of political parties, fearing they had the potential of destroying our carefully balanced democracy. 

“However political parties may now and then answer to popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

- George Washington