Five Reasons Why Idaho’s Voting Process Should be Celebrated

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You might be surprised to learn that Idaho is a national leader when it comes to making sure our voters can make their voice heard at the ballot box. Let’s take a look at some of the policies that help make voting safe, secure, and accessible for Idahoans –

  1. Same Day Registration 
    • Since 1994, Idaho is one of 18 states that allows voters to register and vote on Election Day. All Idahoans need to do when they’re at their polling place is to bring a document that proves residency in that district (like a utility bill) and a valid form of photo ID. High school and college students may use their student photo ID to register. This allows for those turning 18 years of age on Election Day to be able to vote! 
  1. No-Excuse Absentee Voting
    • Starting in 1970, Idaho became one of now 26 states that offer “no-excuse” absentee voting. This means that any voter can request and cast an absentee/mail ballot for any reason. In 2020, Idaho conducted our state primary election entirely through absentee voting. Total turnout was 38.1% (334,724 ballots) making this the highest turnout state legislative primary election in modern Idaho history! To compare, total turnout for the 2016 Idaho primary was 23%. Absentee voting is a safe, secure, and convenient way for Idahoans to vote – especially busy working families, rural folks, and people with disabilities. 
    • Absentee voting provides poll access for all eligible Idahoans, particularly those who may have been unable to participate in person due to any number of reasons.
  2. Easy Ways to Submit a Ballot
    • Once Idahoans are done filling out their absentee ballot, they have plenty of options to submit in whatever form is most convenient – by ballot drop box, local county clerk office, or by mail. Idahoans should just make sure to check with their county clerk for specific instructions, times, and locations.  
  1. Online Voter Registration
    • Idaho launched online voter registration through the Secretary of State’s office in 2017. By visiting Voteidaho.gov, eligible voters with a state driver’s license or non-driver ID can use the system to register to vote and update their registration information. Idahoans can also use the Vote Idaho website to check their voter registration status and find the location of their polling place.
  2. Unaffiliated Voters Can Decide on Election Day
    • Over 300,000 Idahoans are registered as “unaffiliated” (meaning not associated with any political party). There are many reasons a voter may choose not to affiliate with a party until Election Day. Many voters prefer to choose their party after reviewing all of the candidates of the election. These voters like to vote based on their values, not by their party affiliation.
    • Idaho law allows unaffiliated voters to make their decision to affiliate with a party on Election Day and vote in that party’s election.

Despite Idaho having one of the most successful voting systems in the country, some legislators are trying to get rid of these voting tools that many Idahoans rely on to cast their vote. Check out the current roundup of voter restriction bills – and how you can take action to help prevent them from becoming law – on our Legislative Bill Tracker.

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