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How early voting shaped up in south central Idaho

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More than three times as many people in Blaine County requested an absentee ballot or voted early before the 2022 general election compared to in Jerome County.

Both counties' election offices said those numbers are about on par with the 2018 election — the last general election without a presidential race.

In Twin Falls County, clerk Kristina Glascock said a trend toward increased early voting seems to have slowed.

“It looks like we’re down about 1,000 from 2018. But we’ve made up for it in absentee ballots," she said.

About 3,200 people requested an absentee ballot this election in Twin Falls County — over 1,000 more than the 2018 general election. As of Monday, 2,600 of those ballots had been returned. Ballots need to be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

More people are also signing up to be poll watchers in Twin Falls. They’re appointed by a party or candidate to observe election day proceedings, and many have been motivated by unproven claims of national election fraud in the 2020 election.

Nine watchers signed up for the primary in May — the first time Glascock remembers that happening. This election, there are enough to cover all of the 21 Twin Falls polling places and many locations have multiple shifts.

Three poll watchers are signed up in Jerome County. That’s new, said election supervisor Cy Lootens, though a couple people signed up just for early voting during this year's primary.

“As for on election day, that’s the first time that’s ever happened since I’ve been here," said Lootens, who's helped run elections in Jerome for more than eight years.

The candidates nominating poll watchers in Twin Falls County include Glenneda Zuiderveld, the Republican nominee for Senate in District 24 who is running unopposed; Paul Thompson, a Constitution Party candidate for the District 25 Senate seat; and Ammon Buddy, an Independent candidate for Governor. In Jerome, all poll watchers are tied to Bundy's campaign.

There are no people signed up to be poll watchers in Blaine County.

Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen

Copyright 2022 Boise State Public Radio

As the south-central Idaho reporter, I cover the Magic and Wood River valleys. I also enjoy writing about issues related to health and the environment.