Idaho state primary has highest recorded turnout in decades

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) _ The 2020 Idaho primary drew the state's highest voter turnout in decades in an election conducted entirely though mail-in voting for the first time.

The Idaho Secretary of State's Office says 335,037 residents voted in the statewide primary for which results were reported earlier this month, The Times-News reports.

Primary voting took place using mail-in ballots due to restrictions resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

The voter turnout of 36.94% was the highest in an Idaho primary since a 41.34% turnout in 1980.

There were 906,877 registered voters at the time of the election, an increase of about 19% from 2016. Idaho's voting-age population increased by 11% over the same period.

``I thought it was a thundering success,'' Deputy Secretary of State Jason Hancock said.

High turnout could be explained by increased media attention on the unique election, while voters simply may have had more free time, Hancock said.

``There were a lot of people with the lockdown going on who were just sitting at home and didn't have as much to do,'' he said.

Registered voters were required to request a ballot, but the state enabled online requests for the first time. About 170,000 of the 429,463 people who received a ballot submitted an online request.

The state also sent mail-in requests with prepaid postage to all households for voters who did not apply online.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.