TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – Members of the Twin Falls County Clerk’s Office are looking forward to the weekend after primary elections Tuesday, which stretched into the wee hours of Wednesday morning for the few election officials who remained in the County Building after midnight.

It was one of the longest election night’s that County Clerk Kristina Glascock had experienced in a long time. Usually the ballot count is wrapped up before midnight, she said.

A couple of issues account for the long night.

Photo by Andrew Weeks

Of the 9,817 ballots cast, 1,235 had to be hand-counted and put into the database, delaying the final tally until early Wednesday morning. Fifteen polling places had run out of ballots Tuesday night, Glascock said. Copies of the ballot were distributed but that meant they couldn’t go through the counting machine, thus necessitating the manual process.

This was the first time primary elections were held in March. Traditionally they have been in May, and early voting numbers didn’t indicate there’d be an influx at the polls; but the county saw a number of new voters Tuesday.

Also, voters could change their party affiliation at their designated polling place, which slowed the process at the precincts. That will not happen in the next primary election, Glascock said. The legislature likely will make it so that whatever party a voter affiliates with in February will be the ballot they receive in the primary. Those who were in line when the polls closed at 8 p.m. still had the chance to vote.

“We learned a few things,” Glascock said. “We’ve been short on ballots before. It’s always kind of a guessing game on how many ballots we’ll need, but this one was a surprise.”

Next up, Democrats will caucus on March 22. After that, primary elections will be held May 17 for U.S. and state senators, Supreme Court justices, state representatives and local officials. Glascock said voters have until today to change their party affiliation. Whatever party they’re affiliated with after that will be the ballot they receive in May.