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Judge extends Idaho’s absentee ballot request deadline to May 26


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BOISE — A federal judge has extended the deadline for registered voters to request an absentee ballot for Idaho’s primary election to May 26 at 8 p.m.

Judge B. Lynn Winmill ruled in favor of the Nicholas Jones for Congress campaign, which sued on behalf of voters who said the Secretary of State’s website crashed before the initial deadline on May 19, preventing them from requesting their ballots.

“While we regret the additional expense and tremendous logistical strain this will place on the clerks, staff, and counties of Idaho, this is nonetheless a court-issued decision with which we will comply,” a letter from the Idaho Secretary of State’s Office to the county clerks reads.

Winmill’s order should not be misconstrued as an extension of the deadline, however. The deadline to complete ballots is still Tuesday, June 2 at 8 p.m., which can be completed online or by mail.

RELATED | 25 percent of voters have requested ballots in eastern Idaho

“It is likely that in order to meet this timeline, most voters utilizing this extension will find themselves having to physically deliver their ballot on June 2 rather than placing it in the mail,” the letter says.

Idaho’s primary election will be held entirely by mail due to coronavirus concerns.

Deputy Attorney General Robert Berry says he appreciates the response and efforts of local and county clerks in informing voters of the changes.

RELATED | Want to vote but don’t know how? Here’s our procrastinator’s guide to Idaho’s primary

“The state of Idaho did a very darn good job in responding to the pandemic this election cycle,” Berry told the court in a late-afternoon Friday videoconference hearing.

The need to request an absentee ballot was and should not have been a surprise to anyone, Berry says in documents filed with the court.

Click here to read the entire letter from Sec. of State Lawrence Denney. To request an absentee ballot, click here.