BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Elections officials in Idaho have said they are aiming for a million registered voters in the state this year, many of whom are expected to vote by mail during the pandemic.
About 330,000 state residents have already requested absentee ballots, with at least a third of residents living in Ada County where most of the state's population resides, the Idaho Press reported.
Secretary of State Lawerence Denney and county clerks from Ada and Twin Falls counties took part in a live Q&A on elections broadcasted by KTVB-TV on Tuesday.
"I would expect that we would see at least 50% vote absentee in this election," Denney said, adding that the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the state's normal voting process.
Residents with a state driver's license or Department of Motor Vehicles-issued identification card can register online and request an absentee ballot. There is an online form, or registered voters can request a ballot from their county clerk's office with a paper form.
In the 2016 presidential election, 936,529 residents were registered to vote and about three-fourths of them cast a ballot, according to the Secretary of State's office. Twin Falls County Clerk Christina Glascock said the hope this year is to increase the number of registered voters to one million.
"We received two different federal grants this year . the first earmarked for election infrastructure and security . and the second for COVID," Denney said, adding that both grants were worth over $3 million.
This year, Ada County officials have added a $500,000 sorting machine to help process the increasing number of expected absentee ballots. Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane said there will be up to 10 drop boxes scattered around the county for voters to return absentee ballots, and Ada County will include prepaid first-class postage for all ballots, increasing speed and accuracy this election.
"We want to reassure voters locally that things will go smoothly here in Idaho," he said.
This story has been corrected to show that the number of voters in 2016 is according to data from the Idaho Secretary of State's office, not the Twin Falls County clerk.