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25 percent of voters have requested ballots in eastern Idaho file photo
IDAHO FALLS — Time is running out to get your vote counted in this year’s primary election.
It’s one of the most unconventional elections in Gem State history, and it’s two weeks away. This year, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the May 19 primary is being done by absentee ballot only. In other words, all registered voters must request a ballot online or by mail, and voters must mail in their ballots.
So far in eastern Idaho, about 49,000 ballots have been requested out of about 190,500 eligible voters, according to county clerks in Jefferson, Madison, Teton, Fremont, Clark, Butte, Custer, Lemhi, Bonneville, Bingham, Power, Oneida, Bannock, Franklin, Bear and Caribou counties. That’s about 25 percent of eligible voters.
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That’s consistent with the numbers statewide. Secretary of State Elections Compliance Specialist Roger Contreras says the state has processed about 226,900 ballots out of about 902,000 eligible voters (25 percent).
The state hasn’t seen voter turnout like this since 1992, according to historical data provided by the secretary of state’s office. The number of voters who participated in primary elections in Idaho has increased over the past few years, however, with the most recent primary election (2018) having a 20 percent turnout.
The counties with the highest percentage of requests are Butte County, with 780 requests out of 1,400 eligible voters (56 percent) and Franklin County, with 2,575 requests out of 6,386 eligible voters (40 percent).
Madison County has the lowest percentage of requests. Only 3,251 people have requested ballots out of 18,202 eligible voters (18 percent). The second-lowest is Bingham County, with 20 percent of eligible voters requesting ballots.
In Bonneville County, 22 percent of eligible voters have requested ballots, and 25 percent have requested ballots in Bannock County.
If you want to vote, you must request an absentee ballot either online or by contacting your local county clerk. If you have not yet requested a ballot, a request form will be sent to you by mail.
To request a Republican ballot, you have to be a registered Republican. For a Democratic ballot, you can be a registered Democrat, Republican or unaffiliated. Register to vote here.
All ballots must be requested by May 19. To be counted, absentee ballots must be sent back to a county clerk’s office by 8 p.m. on June 2.
“I urge all voting Idahoans to request their absentee ballots as soon as possible so they can vote from home this year,” Gov. Brad Little said in a March news release.

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