Even though it’s several weeks away, voting officials are gearing up for the November 6 election. Today marks the last day for county clerks to print absentee ballots. Soon, they’ll be in the mail for anyone who wants to vote early.
Absentee voting gives anyone who can’t vote on Election Day a chance to cast a ballot. According to the website Long Distance Voter.org, 21 states require voters to provide an excuse to get an absentee ballot. That can include being out of the country, a physical disability, or religious beliefs that will keep you away from the polls on voting day. But in 27 states, including Idaho, voters don’t have to specify why they want to vote by mail.
“Idaho’s very open and accessible to the absentee voting process. There are no reasons, specific reasons, that you have to state like in some states to apply for an absentee ballot.” Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa says the process is simple. Voters just fill out a form requesting a mail-in ballot and one will soon arrive in their mailbox. “The last time you can request the absentee ballot is the Wednesday before the election, six days out.”
That means you have until Halloween to request a ballot. And you have until November 6, to fill it out and get it back to your county clerk. “All voting materials, absentee ballots, have to be received by 8 PM election day. That’s why it’s better to get absentee requests in right now and people will get ballots mailed to them.”
Ysursa says 15 to 20 percent of Idaho voters will use the absentee process. That includes military serving overseas.
For anyone who has already requested an absentee ballot, they should start going into the mail by the end of the week.
Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio