2020 Elections: Idaho Voting Information

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.

Election Day is November 3 and polling locations throughout Idaho will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

But the COVID-19 pandemic means a record number of Idahoans are expected to vote by mail via absentee ballot. Idahoans have already requested more than 350,000 absentee ballots.

New voters

Are you exercising your right to vote for the first time in 2020? If so, we want to hear your story.

Where to go

To find out where to cast your vote in-person on Election Day, the Idaho Secretary of State's Office offers an online tool to find your polling place. You can also check your registration status, request an absentee ballot. While you’re there, you can check out the voter guide.

Some counties also offer early in-person voting until 5 p.m. on October 30. All in-person voters must present either a photo ID or sign a Personal Identification Affidavit.

How to register

While online and mail-in voter registration has ended, Idahoans can register to vote in-person through Election Day at their polling place or early voting location. To do so, you will need to bring one of these:

  • a valid driver’s license issued by the Idaho Department of Motor Vehicles
  • A valid Idaho identification card issued through the Idaho Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Any document that contains a valid address in the precinct together with a picture identification card

Identification

Even if you’re already registered, you must bring photo identification to vote in Idaho. One of the following will do:

  • An Idaho driver’s license or Idaho photo identification card
  • A U.S. passport or federal photo identification card
  • A tribal photo identification card
  • A current student photo ID, issued by an Idaho high school or post-secondary educational institution
  • A license to carry a concealed weapon issued by a county sheriff in Idaho

If you don’t have an ID, you can sign an affidavit verifying your identity. You can vote that way, but not register.

Absentee ballots

If you’re a registered voter, you can request an absentee ballot from the Idaho Secretary of State’s website or by mailing this PDF to your county clerk. Absentee ballot requests must be received by October 23, 2020.

To fill out your ballot, read the instructions carefully and use blue or black ink to completely fill in the ovals or squares. The completed ballot must be placed in the secrecy sleeve, then in the envelope, which must be signed.

The signature is especially important, because it is verified with the signature on file from your voter registration to prevent fraud. If the signature on the envelope doesn’t match your signature on your voter record, your county clerk will try to resolve the discrepancy with you. You can track the status of your ballot here.

Once you receive your absentee ballot, it must be filled out and returned to your county clerk's office by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Officials recommend mailing it at least a week before Election Day to be sure it’s received on time. Alternatively, ballots can be hand-delivered to drop boxes outside county clerks’ offices across the state, where they are collected at least once a day.

COVID-19 precautions

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some polling locations have changed and they are all implementing safety measures. Poll workers will wear masks. Masks and single-use pencils will be available for voters. Voting booths will also be spaced out for social distancing.

If you have any questions about voting, visit IdahoVotes.gov or contact your county clerk’s office.

Election day is creeping up, and there are still signs that some states in our region may have trouble calling winners on November 3. States with a clear winner will likely be able to call who won a state on election night. But in close presidential races, like Nevada, or even close Congressional races, like in Montana and Colorado, could take days beyond that.


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