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Bill to get rid of ballot drop boxes in Idaho advances

Absentee drop off box
Posted at 4:59 PM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 18:59:23-05

BOISE, Idaho — A bill that would eliminate the use of all absentee drop-off boxes in Idaho passed the House Monday morning in a close 37-33 vote.

Although Idaho’s elections have been proven to be secure, some Idaho lawmakers are pushing these new, potential security measures, which has some concerned that the bill could make it harder for Idahoans to vote.

“There's potential for maybe arson, or theft so that gets into security,” bill sponsor Republican Rep. Priscilla Giddings said on the House floor. “We do not have standardized procedures for these drop box locations. Not all of them have 24/7 security.”

Rep Giddings

Republican Rep. Megan Blanksma argued in opposition to the bill, stating it would hurt rural voters and would not give them as much access to voting.

“They were really efficient for rural areas. They gave us options so that we could get those ballots in without using the mail,” Blanksma said on the House floor.

Those in favor say this bill would help reduce election fraud, which has not been a problem in Idaho.

“The most secure elections are when you vote in person. Present your ID so they know who is voting,” republican Rep. Ron Nate said.

Drop boxes role in staying safe for some

One Idaho woman, Jennifer Beazer said using an absentee drop-off box helped save her life and keep her family safe.

“Having my address visible wasn’t an option and for my personal values, not voting was also not an option,” Beazer said. “This ability was part of our life-saving safety plan.”

In 2013, Beazer was assaulted by her ex-husband, which forced her and her children into a new lifestyle of protecting themselves from him.

She started using the state’s address confidentiality program, which keeps your address private. She doesn’t have to put her address on anything public-facing like a driver’s license, or voter registration

“That’s super important because when somebody wants to take your life and is actively looking for you. If you have any exception to your ability to keep your address private, such as voter registration, then you are vulnerable,” she said.

When you show up to vote in person, you need to confirm your address, which wasn’t an option for Bezer but using an absentee drop-off box was.

“It allowed me to continue my important life values of an active voter and it helped me maintain my safety. We need to maintain access for all of our voters.”

The bill now moves over to the Senate side.