CASCADE, Idaho — Concerns about the coronavirus pandemic made voting by absentee ballot the only option in the May primary election.
And as the November general election nears, counties throughout Idaho are seeing a sharp increase in absentee voting. But the polls will be open for in-person voting in all of the state's counties, requiring elections officials to step up their safety protocols at polling locations.
Valley County announced Wednesday that it will be doing temperature checks before voters enter the building. If a voter has a fever, he or she will not be allowed to enter the building, and will instead be given the option of curbside voting.
“The voters are going to be required to wear a mask," Valley County Clerk Douglas Miller said. "If the voter has a medical condition or refuses to wear a mask, what we will do is do curbside voting for that voter. So two polling workers will come out to the individuals' car or curb and they will be able to cast their vote."
Valley County has a population of just over 11,000 people and, Miller said, more than half of the county's registered voters have requested to vote absentee. More than half of those absentee ballots have already been returned.
Because of the high number of people choosing to vote by mail, officials are not worried about being able to enforce safety protocols on election day.
“We are requiring poll workers to wear masks, we are going to have face shields available, we will have the plexiglass where the voters will get their ballots,” he said. “I want people to trust their local county governments. We've got a handle on this and, again, there's a lot of misinformation out there but if you have any concerns contact your county clerk’s office directly."
Valley County voters will be issued paper ballots and each voter will be given his or her own pencil that they can take with them or throw away after using.
For a list of the polling locations in Valley County open on November 3, click or tap here.
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