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Politics & Government
2020 could be one of the most consequential and unusual elections in American history. And now the time has come to cast a ballot, but how? And when? Boise State Public Radio is here to bring you the latest news and information you need to cast your vote in Idaho.

Need An Absentee Ballot For Idaho's Primary? You Have To Apply Soon! Here's How

Jens Alfke

There will be no in-person voting in Idaho’s upcoming May 19 primary election. Instead, all voting will be through absentee or mail-in ballots.

But that means voters have to keep a few key deadlines in mind: May 19 and June 2. Here’s what to know:

  • If you haven’t yet registered to vote, you must do so by 8 p.m. on May 19.

  • If you haven’t requested a ballot, you must do so by 8 p.m. on May 19. (You can register and request a ballot on the same day.)

  • Once you’ve filled out your ballot, you must mail it in by June 2.

Many of the questions and concerns you might have about how to vote can be answered at a one-stop website from the Secretary of State’s office — Idahovotes.gov. Key questions are also outlined below:


Am I registered to vote?

You can check on your registration here, and update it if necessary.


I'm not registered; what now?

You can register to vote online, or mail, email or fax this form to your county clerk. You will need an Idaho Driver’s License or Identification Card and Last 4 digits of Social Security Number

If you don’t have an Idaho driver’s license or ID card, you need to register to vote in person or by mail. You will need to fill out and sign a paper Voter Registration Application and submit the completed card to your local County Clerk’s Office by mail or in-person. You can find your county clerk’s office here.


Yay! I'm registered. Will I automatically receive an absentee ballot?

No, you have to request a ballot and can download a request form here.

Note: you will need an Idaho Driver’s License or ID card and the last 4 digits of your social security number to complete the Online Absentee Ballot Request. If you do not have one of these ID numbers, you will need to download a paper application and mail, email or fax it to your county election office or take it to that office in person.

Once the form is completed and submitted, a ballot will be mailed to the voter. Note: Please allow 10-14 days from receipt to process and return your absentee ballot to you by mail.


How do I send in my ballot?

Your ballot should be mailed into your county clerk’s office, identified at the link above. The deadline for receipt (not postmark date) is 8 p.m. on June 2.


What are we voting on anyway?

When you request a ballot, you have to indicate which party’s ballot you’d like to receive. The Republican Party’s primary is closed, and only those who are registered Republican can receive that ballot. The Democratic Party primary is open, which means anyone can request and vote a Democratic ballot.

On this primary ballot you’ll find candidates for the Idaho legislature, as well as for three congressional seats and a number of county positions. The Secretary of State’s office lists all the primary candidates here.

U.S. Senator Jim Risch, a Republican, is unopposed in the Republican primary. There are two candidates running in the Democratic primary for the Senate seat.


How can I find out if my absentee ballot has been received?

You can check on the status of your ballot here.

This guide was produced with America Amplified, a public media initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. America Amplified is using community engagement to inform and strengthen local, regional and national journalism.