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Politics & Government

Idaho counties adopt voter accessibility measures for primary election

An Ada County Polling Location with white cardboard stands that have barriers between them.
Samantha Wright
Boise State Public Radio

Counties across Idaho are taking measures to ensure voters have an equitable experience at the polls on Tuesday.

In particular, polling places in certain areas are working to overcome physical barriers for handicapped voters, as well as language barriers for those who don’t speak English.

Polling places in Ada County are designed to accommodate visually impaired and disabled voters. Curbside voting is available for those who may have been exposed to COVID-19.

“I want people to know that, no matter what their condition is, we have a thing set up for them to be able to come in and vote,” said Trent Tripple, Chief Deputy Clerk for Ada County.

Tripple is running for Ada County Clerk in this year’s election.

Voters can contact the Ada County Elections office for more information on how they can utilize these accessibility measures.

In Eastern Idaho, Clark County is working to address the language barrier among its voters. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 5.1% of Clark County’s residents have limited English proficiency or don’t speak English at all.

Federal voting laws require counties to provide assistance to those who do not speak English proficiently in places where those voters make up more than 5% of the county’s population, or more than 10,000 voters.

These measures may include access to a ballot, voter registration forms or polling place signage in the voter’s native language, as well as help from bilingual poll workers.

The 2022 Election is the first time Clark County will be required to provide these aids, now that it has crossed the 5% threshold. These measures will also be required during the 2024 and 2026 elections.

Clark County will be required to offer materials in its second-most common language, Spanish. Four other counties in Idaho will also be required to implement language assistance; Clearwater, Idaho, Lewis and Nez Perce counties will be required to offer materials in their native languages.