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Idaho sees record turnout during 2020 Presidential Election


IDAHO FALLS — It’s safe to say that Idahoans wanted their voices to be heard in the 2020 Presidental Election.

At least 867,250 Idahoans voted in the election, according to Secretary of State Lawerence Denney. Official election day voter registrations are still being tallied by all 44 Idaho counties, but the unofficial numbers indicate a record 84.96% of the state’s 1,020,820 people voted in the general election.

Deputy Secretary of State Jason Hancock tells the final number won’t be known for a few more weeks. Once official election day voter registrations are all added up, the voter turnout is expected to be about 82%.

“There was a lot of interest in the Presidential Election race and that brought a lot of people out,” Hancock explains. “Donald Trump as president has been someone who’s gotten a lot of people excited about voting on both sides.”

Hancock says another factor that likely drove the turnout rate was the uniqueness of holding the election during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. There was also a high level of turnout in the May Primary, which was the first-ever all absentee ballot election.

“A lot of the people who requested ballots for that absentee ballot election in May also checked the box to get an absentee ballot for the November election as well,” he says. “A lot of ballots got mailed out to potential voters.”

Hancock doesn’t believe that Idaho has ever been close to having a million registered voters in the state before. He credits part of that to Idaho growing, as well as the interest that Presidential Elections carry with them.

“We always see a spike in registrations around a Presidential Election,” Hancock stated. “If a person is only going to vote in one election every four years, odds are this is the election they’re going to vote in.”

With more absentee ballots being sent out than they’ve ever seen for a general election before, Hancock says there was a large number of Idahoans who voted early. But there was “significant” traffic at the polls as well.

“It really took all three (options),” says Hancock. “It’s a good thing that we had all three available because, if the number of voters who actually came out had piled into any one of those voting methodologies, it would have stressed the system more than it did.”

Hancock says polling places were set up in such a way that people could vote safely amid COVID-19 and he’s grateful to the county clerk offices who made sure of that.

“There were a lot of challenges, but really, I thought it came off tremendously well,” Hancock says.

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