Nearly 18,000 voters in Ada County who did not cast a vote in an election during the past four years have been removed from the voter rolls.
Ada County elections officials say this is part of a statewide effort to update voter records.
Every two years, Idaho code mandates the cancellation of inactive voter records to ensure that Idaho’s statewide voter registration system is current. Officials say this is the final clean-up to ensure that voters who have moved or are otherwise ineligible to vote are removed from the voter rolls.
"Keeping the voter rolls current and accurate is vital to the integrity of our elections," Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane said. "We are constantly working to keep voter registration records up to date to by comparing information with vital statistics, the Department of Corrections, and other government databases.
"This final clean-up of inactive voters helps ensure we stay current," McGrane added. "Thankfully, registering to vote in Idaho is simple. All you need to do is visit www.IdahoVotes.gov or bring the proper identification and register at the polls on Election Day."
Ada County Elections notified affected voters of the cancellation in a postcard mailing on Tuesday.
Voters who were removed from the system may re-register online, mail a registration card to Ada County Elections, or register at the polls during early voting or on Election Day.
Voters who believe they were removed from the rolls in error may contact Ada County Elections at (208) 287-6860.
McGrane explained to KTVB that it isn’t just one big lift every two years. Election teams are constantly monitoring things like vital statistics to keep voter rolls updated to help prevent fraud.
“We’re keeping it current because we are one of the fastest-growing states in the nation and so we have a lot of people moving in and we also have a lot of people moving out. So, it’s an active process to keep the rolls clean,” McGrane said.
He added that most people removed from the lists were those who had moved away from the Gem State.
“Really the bulk of these people are most typically people who have voted in the past and have since then moved somewhere else and likely re-registered someplace else," McGrane said. "They just didn’t list their past registration when they moved to another state or didn’t notify us about the move."
In Ada County specifically, McGrane said, a trend they see is linked to Boise State University students who voted a few years back and then moved out of the area after graduation.
“Our experience has been that the bulk of the mailings that we send out we get back as non-deliverable because in-fact these are people who have moved away,” he said.
The practice of regularly updating voter rolls has been in place in Idaho for decades.
“This was actually established in Idaho code in 1970 so it's been around for quite a while," McGrane said. "This isn’t something new. I hear a lot in the national narrative talking about these things. This is something we’ve been doing for a long time and really, it’s to make sure we have active names and there isn’t inactive people. It’s an effort to prevent voter fraud as well as just to make sure the administration of the elections runs smoothly."
Having accurate voter rolls makes investigations into fraud, especially across state lines, a lot easier to identify.
“We want to make sure everybody has confidence that not only their vote counted but that only the people who should be voting were the ones voting when we went to the polls,” McGrane said.
To register to vote in Idaho, voters with a valid Idaho drivers' license can visit www.IdahoVotes.gov to register online. Voters may also visit Ada County Elections at 400 N. Benjamin Lane in Boise to register. Registration can also be done at the polls during any election. New registrants must present photo identification and proof of residency.
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