Idaho holding May primary by mail only over COVID-19 concerns

Idaho holding May primary by mail only over COVID-19 concerns
Posted at 5:56 AM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 19:20:23-04

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho Gov. Brad Little and Secretary of State Lawerence Denney said Monday that the state primary will be held on May 19 as planned, but it will be conducted by mail with no in-person voting due to the coronavirus.

The Republican governor is urging all Idahoans eligible to vote to request an absentee ballot.

“While the coronavirus situation may change how we practice our right to vote in this primary election, it is important to keep our election dates in place,” Little said in a statement.

Officials said the change is necessary because there won’t be enough polling places or workers for people to vote in person.

Denney, in a letter to Little on Friday, said officials at many of the facilities used for the 900 polling places told county clerks the facilities won’t be or may not be available for the May election. Denney also said polling place workers have concerns for their health and the health of voters.

The state primary will include a U.S. Senate seat, both U.S. House seats, and all 105 seats in the Legislature. Idaho held its presidential primary on March 10, with President Donald Trump winning among Republicans and former Vice President Joe Biden for Democrats.

Denney said his office’s website has been changed to allow voters to register and request an absentee ballot.

“Voting absentee is the right thing to do under these circumstances,” he said.

Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill and House Speaker Scott Bedke, both Republicans, issued statements supporting the decision. Democratic leaders didn’t immediately respond to inquiries from The Associated Press.

To request an absentee ballot, click here.