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How to change from absentee to in-person voting in Idaho

Voters who requested an absentee ballot can still choose to switch back to in-person voting through a few easy steps.

IDAHO, USA — Idaho is experiencing a surge in absentee ballot requests for the 2020 General Election during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

But what if someone in Idaho who decided they wanted to vote absentee in the upcoming election during the primaries earlier in the year has since changed their mind, and want to vote in-person?

Luckily, such voters can still vote in-person come Election Day.

"You do have an option of voting [in-person], even if you had requested an absentee ballot," Chad Houck, Idaho Chief Deputy Secretary of State, said.

It works best if the voter brings their entire absentee voting packet to their local county elections office, Houck said.

"if you take that entire package with you back to the county [elections office], without it being voted, you can write spoiled across that and they will check that ballot as a spoil, enabling you to vote on election day in-person at your voting location," Houck said.

Those who decide to make the change in the last few days before Nov. 3 will need to take it with them to the polling location, Houck added.

It is important that voters have the entire unvoted packet with them when they go to void the ballot.

If there's a part missing, it can create a headache for election workers and slow down the process of switching the voter from absentee to in-person.

"If you just bring a piece of it, we don’t know where the rest of it is, and that’s going to take a little bit longer," Houck said. "It's going to mean having to make a phone call, having to verify that its not sitting, waiting to be verified at the county election office. Which means they have to go through a needle in the haystack scenario to try to find it."

A voter can also simply vote using an absentee ballot while still ensuring it arrives to the county elections office. Simply fill out the ballot and take it in to the elections office to drop it off by hand, Houck said.

He also added that it may be best to vote early using an absentee ballot, even if the voter prefers to bring it in by hand to ensure its safe delivery.

"First and foremost if you can, vote that absentee ballot. You’ve already got it in your hands. That’s one way to make sure nothing happens between now and November Third," Houck said. "Perhaps you get sick, or for some reason you end up out of town, you’ve got that opportunity in your hands right now. Utilize it, vote it in person, hand it over in person, you’re 100 percent sure its there.”

The KREM Voter Access Team is working to get you the information and dates you need for the 2020 Election. Click here to view the KREM Voter's Guide. Text the word 'Vote' to 509-448-2000 for important deadlines and information, or text 'Ballot' for links on how to check the status of your ballot in Washington and Idaho.

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