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Idaho gets 14K more absentee ballot requests after extension

| May 29, 2020 9:07 AM

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The state of Idaho has received another 14,000 absentee ballot requests after a federal court extended the deadline for the primary election because of website problems that kept some voters from filing their requests on time.

Deputy Secretary of State Chad Houck said about 3,000 of the requests were submitted online through the state's Idaho Votes website, which had experienced the same capacity problems it had prior to the extension, the Idaho Press reported. The remaining requests mostly arrived by mail.

“We’ve been saying from Day 1 that there would be folks that wouldn’t be able to utilize it because it wouldn’t, for whatever reason, verify their information,” Houck said about the website. Other issues included problems entering birth dates from Android phones, and those without a valid Idaho license could not use it at all.

Voters who are just now receiving their ballots in the mail are advised to complete them immediately and deliver them in person to drop-boxes outside their county election offices to make it in time for the Tuesday deadline. It’s not a postmark deadline; completed ballots must be in the hands of county clerks by then.

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill granted the extension Friday, ruling that despite extensive efforts to educate voters, the state had failed to make the online request process for absentee ballots properly available before the deadline.

This month's primary election is the state's first all-absentee ballot election. The state has received about 429,000 ballot requests with the extension.

If all voters who requested absentee ballots actually return them and vote, Idaho would see a record-high turnout for a primary election of roughly 47.5% of registered voters, the Idaho Press reported. The 2018 primary drew 32.6% of registered voters.