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Idaho Politics

Voters break records with ballot requests for May Primary Election

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MGN Online

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Based on the number of statewide ballot requests, the 2020 May Primary Election is on track to have the largest voter turnout of any non-gubernatorial primary election in Idaho history, with the largest absentee request ever recorded.

In total, just more than 415,500 Idahoans had requested ballots as counties were wrapping up final data entry Thursday.

This represents almost 46% of the now 907,342 registered voters statewide.

While this number is not yet a “turnout” number, as ballots are not due back to county clerks until 8 p.m. on June 2, it does represent an unprecedented response, especially given the environment in which it happened.

Using the March 2016 primary election for comparison, voter turnout was only 23% percent with 176,806 ballots cast.

“The numbers truly speak for themselves,” said Secretary of State Lawerence Denney. “Voting is a right Idahoans hold dear and they were not going to let the coronavirus get in their way of participating in the May Primary Election. We want to say thank you to all of the Idahoans who adapted with us through these changing circumstances. We also want to say thank you to all of the election workers across the state who have worked so hard over the last few months to keep Idahoans safe and make it possible for them to vote from home.”

While the number of ballots issued is up across the state, it is now up to Idaho voters to get those ballots returned by the deadline.

“Voters who requested their ballot either May 18 or at the May 19 deadline will need to be patient,” says Chad Houck, Chief Deputy Secretary. “As of today, all counties have finished entering requests, and those ballots will be headed out to homes statewide as quickly as possible to give voters plenty of time to return their ballot by the deadline.”

That deadline is 8 p.m. on June 2. To properly return the ballot, voters must insert it into the privacy sleeve that comes in the packet, then place that into the second outer envelope, sign it, and seal it before mailing the voted ballot back to their local elections office.

Ballots should be returned as soon as possible to ensure they are received by the deadline.

All ballots were sent with a pre-addressed official return envelope, and most included pre-paid postage.

For those without postage, grocers statewide have stepped in to assist voters in getting their ballots returned at no cost.

Ballots will be counted and unofficial election results will begin to be released the evening of June 2 at 8 p.m Pacific time. Official results will follow with the completion of the state election canvas.

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