All Idahoans must vote via absentee ballot, local officials explain the process

On April 1, 2020 Governor Little announced that the May elections would be held entirely by absentee ballots. Local election officials are working to have everything ready to go. KPVI spoke to Bannock County officials to learn what that means for you.

Jason Dixon says, "They are being given their opportunity to vote. They just need to be proactive about getting their ballot."

Jason Dixon is the Bannock County Clerk and is working with his team to make sure the more than 43,000 registered voters in the county are able to vote in this May election.

Dixon says, "We are going to be sending a letter to every registered voter. In that letter there will be an absentee ballot request form that they can send back through the mail."

You must request an absentee ballot to get one; one will not be mailed out to registered voters. This because voters have to identify which type of ballot they need (political party affiliation).

Another way to request your ballot is to go to idahovotes.gov. Where you will need your state I.D. (driver's license) and social security number to verify who you are.

Dixon says, "That's probably, for most people, the easiest way to request your ballot. I did it myself the other day. It's very self-explanatory."

You can do that now through May 19, but there are a few things to be aware of.

May 19 is the deadline for three things:

One, to register to vote. Two, for the county clerk to receive a request for an absentee ballot. Three, to request an absentee ballot online.

That means voters could potentially be sending in their votes after election day. Which means votes will not be counted on election day.

Dixon says, "We are not going to count the ballots for this election until June 2."

All this to keep voters safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Election officials are taking precautions to keep their staff safe as well.

Dixon says, "When those ballots come in we're going to put them in our vault for 'x' amount of days."

If the virus is on a ballot this will give it enough time to naturally die before election officials count the vote.

When the time comes for voters to mail in their voted absentee ballot to the county elections office, there is no postage cost.

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