BOISE - The 2016 general election is getting a lot of attention thanks to the divisive, and highly contentious nature of the presidential race. And it's expected to drive voters to the polls. Ada County elections officials, for example, are expecting about 75 percent of eligible voters in the county - about 195,000 people - to vote in this election. That could lead to busy, and possibly chaotic, scenes at polling places.
Here are five tips to help you avoid Election Day hassles:
1. Vote early. Friday, Oct. 14 was the last day to mail in voter registration forms, but that doesn't mean you can't register to vote, vote for that matter, before Election Day. Early voting is underway at polling places statewide. By voting early, you'll avoid the long lines at the polls on Election Day. You can find a list of early voting locations in Ada County here and Canyon County here. For locations in other counties, contact your county clerk.
VOTER GUIDE: What you need to know before Election Day
2. Let the polling place come to you. Ada County kicked off early voting this week and unveiled its new mobile voting unit. It's essentially a voting booth on wheels. Between now and Nov. 4, the mobile unit is traveling to various locations around the county. You can register and vote right on site. Here's the schedule.
3. Be prepared. If you choose to register and/or vote on Election Day, be prepared for long lines at your voting location. Presidential elections typically drive higher voter turnout than mid-term, or off-year elections, so you'll want to give yourself extra time on Election Day. If you are unsure where to vote, check out our voter resources page to find your polling place or to see if you are registered. You also want to be sure to bring identification with you when you go to vote.
4. Know what's on your ballot. Idahoans are being asked to decide a wide array of national, statewide, and local races. Avoid surprises at the poll by finding out what is on your ballot before Election Day. Here are some links to races you'll find on your ballot:
- Presidential and congressional races
- Idaho Supreme Court and constitutional amendment
- Legislative races
- County-by-County ballot breakdown
5. Absentee voting. If you are unable to cast your ballot in person, you have option to vote via an absentee ballot. Many voters with special needs or those who are away from home for an extended period of time find absentee voting to be a great alternative to voting in person. To request an absentee ballot to be mailed to you, send a written request to your county clerk’s office by 5 p.m. on October 28. You can find the absentee ballot request form here.