Denney addresses voters who received ballots but want to go to the polls

Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney

County clerks across Idaho have been inundated with question from people who’ve received absentee ballots who want to vote in person November 3.

Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney has responded to definitively answer those questions, describing four possible scenarios.

“Recently, we’ve seen some misleading articles in print media around the state regarding absentee ballots and how, or if, they can be returned during early voting or election day and exchanged for a new ballot,” he wrote. “Both the federal and state governments provide for an elector’s right to cast a vote during elections. Furthermore, it is important to note that the Idaho Constitution does not address ballots being issued. Instead, the Constitution focuses on the right of suffrage, or the right to vote. The right to cast a ballot must be offered and protected for all qualified electors in our great state.”

As direction, he offers the following:

Scenario One: An elector comes into a polling place and wants a new ballot. He requested an absentee ballot, marked it up and mailed it back to the county clerk’s office, where it was received as valid in the system.

In this scenario, the elector cannot have his ballot rescinded. This would be impossible given the Idaho Constitution’s requirement for a secret ballot. Once the signatures have been verified, that ballot is considered the person’s vote.

Scenario Two: An elector comes into a polling place and wants a new ballot. She requested an absentee ballot but forgot to bring it with her to the polling place.

In this scenario, the poll worker can call the county clerk’s office and have the uncast absentee ballot spoiled. The elector may now receive a new ballot and go through the voting process.

Scenario Three: An elector comes into a polling place and wants a new ballot. He requested an absentee ballot and brought it with him to the polling place. At this stage, the ballot may be marked or unmarked.

In this scenario, the poll worker can call the county clerk’s office and have the uncast absentee ballot spoiled. The elector may now receive a new ballot and go through the voting process.

Scenario Four: An elector comes into a polling place and wants a ballot. She may have requested an absentee ballot and not received it, or perhaps the ballot was destroyed or misplaced.

In this scenario, the poll worker can call the county clerk’s office and have the lost or destroyed absentee ballot spoiled. The elector may now receive a new ballot and go through the voting process.

Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the usual precinct polling sites in Boundary County; the Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall, South Boundary Fire Station 1 in Naples, Moyie Springs City Hall and Mt. Hall Elementary.

Social distancing protocols will be in place and all voters going to the polls are asked, if possible, to bring your own mask and pen or pencil, as supplies on hand will be limited.

To learn more about voting in this exciting pandemic year in Boundary County, call Clerk Glenda Poston at (208) 267-0962.

Share