"It Was Simply Not Safe." Coronavirus Moves Idaho To All-Absentee Primary In May

Apr 2, 2020

Idaho’s upcoming May primary will move to an all absentee ballot election next month to avoid transmitting the coronavirus, which will push back the results until June.

The state’s tradition of allowing its residents to register to vote on the same day they cast a ballot will continue. You will be able to both register to vote and request an absentee ballot until 8 p.m. on May 19.

Secretary of State Lawerence Denney (R) said the growing number of coronavirus cases here forced the decision. 

“It simply was not safe for voters, election workers or the larger community to hold in-person voting for the May primary,” Denney said.

669 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed by state health officials with nine deaths as of Wednesday evening.

All registered voters will be sent an absentee ballot request form if they have not already asked for one within 10-14 days. They will come with a prepaid envelope in which to return the form.

Residents can also ask for a ballot or register to vote online. State officials say they’ve already gotten more than 20,000 requests over the past week.

If you don’t have an internet connection, you can call your county clerk’s office to request these forms through the mail. Those would need to be returned before a ballot could be issued.

Denney said Idaho will also receive federal money to help offset these expenses, though it’s unclear how much this undertaking might cost or how much the state will get.

Only registered Republicans are able to request a Republican Party ballot. Registered Democrats and unaffiliated voters are able to vote in the Democratic Party primary.

Current unaffiliated voters are able to change their party affiliation when they request a ballot.

The deadline to return your ballot is by 8 p.m., June 2, when results will officially be counted.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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