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Absentee voting up, in-person voting down in Canyon County

A white ballot dropbox with a sticker that has the American flag and "Absentee Ballot Drop Box" on it.

Canyon County residents took advantage of absentee voting in record numbers but voter turnout still remained low compared to previous years.

County representative Joe Decker says fewer people cast ballots in the county than they did in the last midterm election. A little more than 64,000 people voted in 2018 compared to around 59,000 on Tuesday, despite having 12% more registered voters this election cycle.

Decker says outside of the 2020 May primary outlier, many voters took advantage of early voting opportunities. The County had encouraged people to do so to alleviate Election Day lines. Officials counted 6500 early and 16,000 absentee ballots this time around.

“This is by far the most absentees we've ever ran in a big election,” Decker said. “So kudos to the people who voted early and absentee.”

Long lines and bad weather may have deterred some voters, but Decker reported an uptick in curbside voting, originally set up to allow folks with mobility issues to cast ballots from their car.

“I think some people realize that might be a way to skirt around the line when they showed up and saw, ‘Oh man, this is a huge line’,” he said. “And then as they're driving away to leave, they see the curbside voting option.”

Decker said the elections office received some complaints about the long lines, but there were no issues reported at the polls.

“Hands down, this one was smooth,” he said.

The board of county commissioners has until November 18 to canvas the election and release official results.

As the Canyon County reporter, I cover the Latina/o/x communities and agricultural hub of the Treasure Valley. I’m super invested in local journalism and social equity, and very grateful to be working in Idaho.