An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Idaho House Committee Holds Voting Center Bill

State of Idaho

During Idaho’s special legislative session today [Tuesday] a House committee voted to hold a bill that allows counties to designate in-person voting centers. Any voter within a county could go to vote there on Election Day this November, regardless of whether the center is in their precinct.

Many county elections officials say the proposal provides additional options for voters at a time when some polling places are closed due to the coronavirus.  

“With the voting centers, anyone can show up on Election Day, register to vote at that voting center and actually vote. That breaks down the confusion of voters who typically only vote every four years," said Jennifer Locke, the chief deputy clerk in the Kootenai County elections office.

The centers would be connected via technology to the voter rolls to ensure the people are eligible to vote and to ensure they only vote once.

The mantra for many legislators during this special session is that they want to preserve the right to vote in person. This a few months after a statewide primary was conducted all by mail because of the pandemic. But even though this might offer more in-person voting options, several legislators were skeptical, including Rep. Julianne Young [R-Blackfoot].

“I just am not ready to ask people to try out something new during another election right after everybody’s tired of trying out new things. I think we want to get back to normal as much as possible. I don’t see the advantages of the change being enough to outweigh what I see as the detriment," Young said.

Tuesday’s vote probably kills the bill, which sailed through the Senate Monday by a 31-to-four vote.