IDAHO — Idaho is just one week away from the General Election and voters continue to either early vote in person or drop off their absentee ballots.
According to county officials, interest and requests for absentee ballots have increased across the Treasure Valley ahead of the November 8th election.
“This has actually been our third highest ever in terms of request for absentee ballots and that stacks in comparison to the presidential year in 2020,” Deputy Ada County Clerk Trent Tripple said.
Ada County has had 54,000 absentee ballot requests for the General Election and so far, 30,000 of those ballots have been returned.
“We’re staying very busy processing all of those ballots,” Tripple said.
In-person early voting which has been going on since last week hasn't seen as much traction according to Tripple. The Ada County Election’s data shows about 10,546 ballots have been cast during In-Person Early Voting so far.
“We’re seeing that shift right now. Our in-person early voting numbers are down and absentee voting numbers are up, which could be a shift in voter habits in how they want to vote or growth in the county. It could be a number of factors,” Tripple said.
A few months ago the Canyon County Elections Office encouraged voters to vote by absentee in order to avoid long lines and wait times on election day.
“May primary we had a two-page ballot and we noticed that some people were standing at the machine voting anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours,” Canyon County PIO Joe Decker said. “The ballot in this election is four pages so it’s twice as big as the May one and knowing the wait times we had then, we just thought hey let’s try to get people to vote absentee or early before the election day.”
In Canyon County there were just over 18,000 absentee ballots requested which is a huge uptick compared to the 5,900 requested for the Primary Election back in May.
Early voting has been steady according to Decker, with a large number of people heading to the county’s one early voting site at the elections office.
“We had just under 3,000 voters vote early last week,” Decker said.
In May, Canyon County had two early voting locations open, and for the entire two weeks, there were only about 3,000 early votes total.
“Based on that, we’re expecting a really high turnout on Election Day,” Decker said.
Early voting continues in both counties until Friday. It is also encouraged to drop off your absentee ballot as soon as possible to make sure it is counted. The deadline is 8 p.m. on November 8th.