BOISE, Idaho — The Ada County Elections Office will start opening absentee ballots tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. and the Public Logic and Accuracy (L&A) test for the November 3 election will be held at 2 p.m. After a successful L&A test, staff will start scanning the absentee ballots.
Senate Bill 1001 authorizes Idaho counties to begin opening and scanning ballots a week before Election Day. Votes will not be read or tabulated until after the polls close at 8 p.m. on November 3.
The L&A test runs a set of ballots with votes that are predetermined to ensure the ballots are properly read and tabulated by the election software. The test will be streamed live on the Ada County Elections Facebook page.
The process of opening ballots includes two steps, which ensure the security and anonymity of the vote. First, the signed exterior envelopes are separated from the ballots, which stay inside the secrecy sleeve. The envelopes are kept and archived. The second step is when the ballots are removed from the sleeve, unfolded and laid flat for scanning.
Before being opened, all ballots are received into the Idaho Statewide Voter Registration System and reconciled against the ballots issued. For security, the signature on the back of each returned envelope is compared to the signature on the voter's registration card. Ballots are held in secure storage areas until they are ready to be opened and counted.
The elections office said 143,667 ballots have been issued and 92,886 have been returned. 30,226 ballots have been completed via early voting. The Ada County Elections Office has an updated visualization chart on voting on their website.