The Idaho Senate approved changes to absentee balloting that would require that ballots be mailed out 45 days prior to an election and end early voting on the Friday before election day. The changes to mailing absentee ballots conform to new federal law designed to help Americans serving in the military or living abroad cast their vote.
Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa, said the changes would make it easier for people to vote absentee. He also said that the Friday cutoff for voting absentee in person at county clerks' offices is designed to lower the chances of double voting. “That is something that is favored by the clerks so they can make sure their polling books are correct and up to date,” he said. “They want to make sure that the polling books sent out to the precincts on Tuesday are as accurate as possible.”
Senate Minority Leader Kate Kelly, D-Boise, voted against the proposal because she said changing the deadline for early voting would suppress voter turnout. “I don’t think that’s a good idea,” she said. She said voting early is one way to get more people to vote. “I think that’s an option that we should continue to give Idahoans. We should be taking actions to encourage voting, not discourage it.”