Record number of people choosing to vote by mail in Kootenai County

COEUR d’ALENE, Idaho — Kootenai County voters will head to the polls on November 3, but a record number of people are choosing to cast their ballot by mail this year.

More than 98,000 people have registered to vote in the county, and that’s a record high. 39,000 of those people have requested absentee ballots, which is also a record.

“A lot of older individuals, more experienced, decided this is the election they want to participate in,” Kootenai County Clerk Jim Brannon said.

With COVID-19 still a concern, the county said it became more common for people to opt for mail-in-voting.

Now, poll workers are working around the clock to get some of those ballots sent out by October 2.

“It’s been literally all hands on deck,” Brannon said.

And those poll workers are confident your vote will count this November, thanks to some special machines.

All of the ballots in Kootenai County will be counted at the Elections Department, where their machines can count up to 300 ballots per minute while also sorting out duplicates or incorrectly filled ballots.

That’s one reason why election officials believe the voting process is completely secure, whether you vote by mail or in person.

“We do verify on the application, the signature, and then we also verify when the ballot comes back,” Chief Deputy Clerk Jennifer Locke said. “We scan each envelope one by one, and there’s a barcode on there, and we verify the signature against the registration system.”

Voters have until October 9 to register online or request an absentee ballot.

People can also register in person at their designated polling site, but if they wait until election day, they’ll have to register at the Elections Department on Third St.

You can also check the status of your ballot or registration at Idahovotes.gov.

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