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Officials explain safeguards in place to protect Idaho mail-in ballots

“We have a lot of procedures in place"
Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 12:49 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - The Trump campaign is now suing Nevada over its plan to expand mail-in voting for the November election. While the May elections in Idaho were all mail-in voting the upcoming elections will be standard.

“Idaho Is not going to have an all mail-in ballot in November at this point. “We will have our regular polling places voters can still request an absentee ballot,” said Kristina Glascock, Clerk of the District Court in Twin Falls County. “Or they can still come here to County West to early vote.”

One of the questions with mail-in ballots is the fear someone could steal your ballot and vote for you. KMVT found out what safeguards are in place if people do choose to request a mail-in ballot.

“We have a lot of procedures in place, so we require your signature for you to request a ballot to be mailed to you,” Glascock said. “We never automatically mail a ballot out to all registered voters. So, we compare your signature on your request form to your signature we have on file from your voter registration card, and those signatures need to match. Then we will mail you a ballot and when your ballot comes in your signing the affidavit envelope on the outside and we compare that signature again to your voter registration signature.”

Each envelope has a bar code that is scanned once it’s returned and that pulls up a person’s voter registration where an election clerk does a visual verification of the signatures. Once the bar-code is scanned another ballot with the person’s information cannot be counted.

So the question remains, do election officials believe mail-in ballots are secure from fraud?

“I would think so; it’s the same as voting in person,” said Cy Lootens, the elections director for Jerome County. “We check your signature and your address. We do everything the same way. It’s just a little bit different because it goes through the mail instead of from hand to hand, so.”

And for those concerned about their ballot getting lost in the mail when returning their ballot, there are other options.

“You can mail it through the post office,” Lootens said. “Postage is a $1.20 to mail those back, otherwise you can drop them off here at the courthouse. We have a drop box outside of our office, and then if you want to come into our office, you can drop them off there in the clerks’ office.”

When an absentee ballot is requested it comes with four things, the ballot itself, it also comes with a security envelope, which the filled out ballot goes into, instructions and the return envelope.

For those who don’t want to go to a polling location on election day and don’t want a mail in a ballot, some counties do hold early voting. Early voting for the November election starts Oct. 19, and any registered voter can go to their local clerks’ office and vote during their regular business hours.

Each county determines if they will hold early voting so check with the local clerks’ office before going in to vote.

Copyright 2020 KMVT/KSVT. All rights reserved.

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