Can you vote in-person after requesting an absentee ballot?

Posted at 6:06 PM, Oct 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-19 20:06:38-04

A record number of absentee ballots for Idaho voters have been mailed out already this year, but what happens if you decide you would instead vote in person and choose not to use your absentee ballot?

If you requested an absentee ballot for the upcoming election and decided you would instead vote in person, you can. A ballot is part of an inventory tracking system, so when it's requested, the status on a voter record will show as received, or something letting the election's offices know the ballot hasn't been returned yet.

"As long as that ballot hasn't been cast, they are showing with an absentee ballot outstanding. It doesn't preclude them from voting at the polls. It just becomes a question of how do they handle the inventory and cancel that outstanding absentee ballot," Chief Deputy Secretary of State Chad Houck says.

Canceling an absentee ballot can be done one of many different ways, starting with ensuring you have all ballot materials you received in the mail. The ballot and the return envelope are the two important documents needed.

"So, having both pieces of that will help speed that process up for everyone because the return envelope has your name on it where you would normally sign that affidavit. You're going to be able to put those pieces together and spoil that right there, and that takes care of that inventory issue," Houck says.

If you don't have your ballot, you can go to the polls and tell a poll worker you don't have one.

"The poll worker will call back to the county, confirm that is the case, block it from being able to be received at that point, and then they are open to cast that ballot in person," Houck says.

Houck also says it's a complicated inventory system, but it helps ensure no double votes or similar fraudulent issues.

"That's what keeps it secure. We know how many ballots are out. We know who has them, and before you can vote on Election Day, that has to be resolved, one way or another," Houck says.

The deadline for both the absentee ballot's return and for in-person voting is 8 p.m. on November 3rd.

If you still want to request an absentee ballot, you have until October 23rd.