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Can Idahoans who contract COVID-19 near Election Day -- but planned to vote in-person -- still vote?

One local clerk's office says they have a plan.
Posted at 8:54 PM, Oct 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-07 00:53:15-04

IDAHO — Voting is a constitutional right and one of the most fundamental tenets of our democracy. But in the age of COVID-19, new challenges beg new questions about protecting voter access and election integrity.

If you test positive for COVID-19, or even if you just suspect you have it, the CDC instructs that you do not leave your home except to get medical care -- noting on their website, “Do not visit public areas."

So what happens if you have the virus, but planned on voting in-person in Idaho on November 3?

We asked Idaho State Governor Brad Little.

"That is actually a good question. 'If you’re COVID positive, how do you exercise your constitutional right to vote on Election Day?'" said Little. "I would -- that’s why I’m urging everybody to use our very dynamic absentee system we have here in Idaho. I don’t know... we’ll get back to you."

While the answer remains unclear for other Idaho polling locations, I've since learned that Ada County actually does have a plan for this.

In an exclusive statement to our newsroom Tuesday, a communications specialist for the Ada County Clerk’s office wrote, “We do have a contingency plan for this. We’re working closely with Central District Health and their contact tracing program and we will have a dedicated polling location just for those who have contracted COVID (those who didn’t request an absentee)."

In the name of election integrity, we’ll continue to ask local clerks about their plans regarding this very 2020-specific problem.