PAYETTE — As the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 continues, the Idaho Secretary of State is encouraging voters in Idaho to use absentee ballots for the May 19 election.
Christine Poe, Deputy Election Clerk for Payette County, said that every effort would be made to preserve election integrity.
“The State of Idaho and all counties do all we can insure that when a voter goes to the polls or absentee votes by mail or in person, that privacy and integrity are priorities,” said Poe via email on March 20. “Mail ballot absentees are processed by an election official in our office and personally delivered to the post office for mailing. A new registrant is required to show ID and proof of residency to order to request an absentee ballot. [For] a voter that is already registered, our office will compare signatures with our records. When ballots are returned, our office will place the ballots in a locked ballot box until the evening of May 19, when our staff will remove the voted ballot envelope from the signed affidavit envelope. Only when all the affidavit envelopes are all opened will we begin to open the voted envelopes, so as not to associate any ballot with any voter. We will then run the ballots thru our tabulating machines to get the final voting results.”
Even as the Idaho Secretary of State and election officials in each county urge voters to cast their ballots from home, Poe said accommodations are being made for those who insist on voting in person.
“From my understanding, at this time, we plan to have at least one polling place per city in Payette County and big enough so voters would be able to vote in an open area,” said Poe. “With so many businesses and buildings being closed for an undetermined time, this plan is subject to change.”
Those individuals wishing to vote from home can pick up an absentee request form from the Payette County Clerk’s Office or request them over the phone at (208) 641-6000 to be mailed to their homes. Online, the form can be found at idahovotes.gov, payettecounty.gov or the Idaho Secretary of State’s website.
Applications for absentee ballots are due by May 8.