#4ThePeople: Your election questions answered by the Kootenai County Clerk

KOOTENAI CO., Idaho — This election is about you — the people. With only five days until Election Day, ballots are pouring in.

In Kootenai County, the Elections Department reports record-breaking numbers. They’ve sent out more than 47,000 absentee ballots this year. They have more than 103,000 people registered to vote, with more registering each day.

As we get closer to Election Day, 4 News Now has been flooded with your questions, including one from Vicki Gillespie.

Kootenai County ballot question

We talked to the County Clerk, Jim Brannon, to get the answer in our #4thePeople coverage.

“We have a state voter registration system, so if someone is in Kootenai County and say they move to Canyon County down south, then that person would come off of our roles,” Brannon explained. “When they re-register down there, they would be on their roles.”

Brannon said they also check the obituaries at the Elections Department. If you change your name, you have to re-register to vote.

“They need to bring ID that proves they lived in Kootenai County for 30 days and an ID with their address,” Brannon explained.

Registration closes at the Elections Department at 5 p.m. on Friday.

Another person asked about tracking ballots.

Kootenai County ballot question

idahovotes.gov. Let me say that again. idahovotes.gov,” Brannon said.

This is where you can track your absentee ballot and make sure the office received it.

There are several important things you need to know before Election Day. If you want to vote early, tomorrow is the last day to do so.

After that, you must vote at your designated poll. You can find this online by putting in your address. They polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“There are 54 polling places,” Brannon said. “Some have more than one precinct in them.”

If you want your ballot to be counted, Brannon said it has to physically be in the Elections office by 8 p.m. on Election Day. It can’t be postmarked by 8 p.m.

Absentee ballots have come back in record numbers this year. Brannon said they’ve received 33,924. In 2016, only 12,000 were returned.

“I think the increase [requested ballots] is one, due to the COVID virus and secondly due to the high interest in this election,” Brannon explained.

Ballots can’t be counted until Election Day.

“We’re hoping to count all of our ballots on election night, but it may go into the morning,” Brannon said. “But I can’t envision going more than that.”

If you’re interested in what happens behind the scenes, Kootenai County has ballot cameras.

“It is to say look your ballot has been received,” Brannon said. “It is locked up. It’s safe and will be counted.”

You can watch the machines count up to 300 ballots per minute.

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