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Idaho

 Idaho has opportunities to implement voter-centric reforms in several issue areas. Idaho should build upon its excellent work in 2020 by codifying temporary reforms and otherwise expanding electoral accessibility. In particular, the State should make drop boxes required, establish a cure process, and improve ballot tracking. Additionally, we suggest creating a permanent absentee voter list, implementing AVR, and joining ERIC. As always, while policy is important, effective implementation is just as important.

As of 2021....

No Excuse Required

No Excuse Required

No excuse to vote by mail

Online Mail Ballot Application

Online Mail Ballot Application

Apply for mail ballot online

Robust Ballot Return Option

Robust Ballot Return Option

U.S. mail, drop boxes, vote centers, and more

Prepaid Postage

Prepaid Postage

Postage-paid return envelopes provided

Election Day Postmark Acceptance

Election Day Postmark Acceptance

Accepts ballots postmarked by Election Day

Ballot Tracking

Ballot Tracking

Online method to check ballot status

Signature Verification

Signature Verification

Voter signature verified before ballot is counted

Cure Process

Cure Process

Ability to correct issues so ballot can be counted

Preprocessing

Preprocessing

Election official may process ballot before Election Day

Opportunities

Idaho can reduce costs and increase voter convenience by creating a permanent absentee voting list, on which voters can sign up to automatically be sent an absentee ballot for each election without having to re-apply. A permanent absentee list is a voter-centric reform that would also save the state significant expenses by cutting down on the requests it needs to process.
Idaho already allows counties to establish drop boxes, but it should allow them to place them on places other than county property. That way, voters have greater access to the ballot box while security is further ensured by 24/7 video monitoring. Drop boxes reduce strain on the postal system, and are sometimes a preferred method by voters who want more reassurance that their ballots will arrive on time. We also recommend allowing ballots to be received at polling places and other locations deemed necessary by clerks.
In the event that a voter’s ballot is rejected, said voter should have the ability to cure their ballot quickly and simply. As more voters use absentee ballots and, understandably, the number of rejected absentee ballots increases, we recommend implementing a Text2Cure system that allows voters to cure their ballots from their phones.
Ballot tracking software such as Ballot Scout or Ballot TRACE can be a very cost effective tool to improve Idaho’s current ballot tracking system. An expanded notification system helps keep rejection rates low and increases voter confidence and participation.

Recent Legislation

As of May 26, 2021

Before the pandemic, Idaho passed bills that made temporary adjustments to the electoral system in the wake of the COVID pandemic. SB 1001 facilitated ballot preprocessing and SB 1309 provided for access to emergency absentee ballots. In addition, an order issued by the Secretary of State ensured that the 2020 primary election would be conducted entirely by mail. Idaho has not yet passed legislation to codify these electoral improvements, but still has the opportunity to do so.

In its 2021 session, the Idaho Legislature passed H 290, which altered signature verification procedures, and S 1064, which prevented each voter from receiving absentee ballots from primary elections associated with more than one party. It is also currently considering bills that would provide for a cure process, facilitate absentee voting assistance in residential facilities, amend ballot mailing timelines, and enact ballot bearing restrictions. None of these bills have passed yet, but the legislature has the chance to pass them.