County sees robust absentee voter turnout

SANDPOINT — Bonner County is on pace to beat its absentee voting record, according to Clerk Marie Scott.

The record was set during the 2008 general election, when 5,011 voters cast absentee ballots. As of late Friday afternoon, 4,900 people had voted absentee, which is about 20 percent of the registered voters in the county.

“We just might break a record,” said Scott.

The elections office at the county administration building was teeming with absentee voters on Friday, the last day of in-person absentee voting. The line of absentee voters extended into the hallway outside the office at one point.

“It has just been unbelievable,” Scott said of the Friday’s turnout.

Those who have absentee ballots but not have voted them yet have until 8 p.m. on Tuesday to get them back to the clerk’s office. Absentee ballots cannot be turned in at polling precincts.

The Idaho Secretary of State made an emergency declaration for absentee voting procedures due to Hurricane Sandy.

Dustin Hurst, chief deputy secretary of state, said in an email to counties throughout the state that there are electors on the East Coast who intended to be in Idaho to cast their votes on Tuesday, but are still stranded in areas affected by the superstorm.

As a result, the secretary of state is allowing absentee ballots to be distributed and received by fax or email. Requests for absentee ballots from Idahoans in select states were accepted until 5 p.m. on Friday.

Absentee ballots can be electronically transmitted to Idaho voters who are in the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina.

Elections officials in Bonner County said they’ve only received a handful of inquiries from residents who are stuck on the East Coast.

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