How Idaho Makes It Harder (And Easier) To Vote

Oct 17, 2014

In the past few years, Idaho has made it harder for people to vote. In the past few years, Idaho has made it easier for people to vote. Both of those sentences are true according to PBS Frontline.

A recent article from the PBS show’s website features Ballot Watch, an interactive that lists 18 states that made it harder to vote and six states that have expanded voter access.

Idaho is one of only two states to pass laws since 2010 that make it both harder and easier to vote. Rhode Island is the other.


In terms of making it harder to vote, Idaho passed a law in 2010 (not 2013 as the Frontline article says) requiring a photo ID to vote.

Idaho lawmakers made it easier to vote in 2013 by giving counties the option of having ‘early voting.’ You can now vote before Election Day with an absentee ballot. You have to request an absentee ballot, and they’re intended to be mailed in, but you could submit it in person. Counties can also have voting stations just like on Election Day before the actual election.

“For those counties that elect to do "early voting," early voting shall begin on or before the third Monday before the election and end at 5:00 p.m. on the Friday before the election.” - Idaho code 34-1012

The Frontline article doesn’t mention Idaho’s 2012 law allowing political parties to close primary elections to registered party members.

Frontline does mention some older Idaho laws that it sees as expanding voting access, like not requiring an excuse to vote absentee. It also mentions laws it sees as restricting voter access, like prohibiting some felons from voting.

Find Adam Cotterell on Twitter @cotterelladam

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