Being a first-time voter can be overwhelming. Many have questions and struggle to find answers through the mass of information available. This is a simple rundown of what to take and what to expect at the polls.
You might have seen ads for voting registration recently on your social media. Before you can vote, you need to register. Oct. 9 was the last day to register before election day in Idaho. However, you can still register at the polls when you get there.
College students from states other than Idaho have a few options. You can request an absentee ballot from your home county, or you can register to vote in Idaho.
To register in Idaho, you’ll need to take a photo ID, like your driver’s license or school ID, and proof of residency when you go to vote.
Brenda Stoor, the Madison County elections director, said a utility bill is the best proof of residency you can take. You can show them anything that has your name, address and a postmark date that is 30 days prior to your registration date. Stoor said other options include a housing contract, an Amazon package receipt on your phone or even a letter that is postmarked 30 days ago.
She said finding a proof of residence is the most difficult part of registering to vote. If you have an Idaho driver’s license, that would be both your proof of residency and ID. If you show an ID and valid proof of residency, you can vote.
This is a presidential election, which means voting will be for the next U.S. president. However, that is not all that will be on the ballot. Ballots differ county by county. All the United States will have at least Donald Trump and Joe Biden as presidential candidates on the ballot. In Idaho, besides president, we’ll vote for U.S. Senator, and U.S Representative.
There will also be races for state lawmakers, including senators and representatives from Idaho’s 35 legislative districts.
Everyone registered in Idaho will see a state constitutional amendment on their ballots. We will also be voting for people specific to our county, like the county sheriff. With all these options, it can be hard to keep everything straight. It is important to know what you will be voting for and to do your research before you arrive at the polls.
“They need to be informed. They need to look into candidates. They need to know the issues they are voting on. It’s not good to just go in and take a guess on what you think would be the best. It’s good to do your homework and be informed before you do come to vote,” said Kim Muir, the Madison County Clerk.
To view a sample ballot to find out who and what you will be voting on, click here.
Election day is Nov. 3, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“If you’re in line at 8 p.m., you will get to vote. If you come at 8:01, you will be turned away,” Muir said.
The last presidential election was in 2016. Stoor said to expect long lines, and to dress warmly. Be sure to wear a mask and follow social distancing protocols.
There are multiple places to vote on Nov. 3. For a list of polling locations in Madison County, click here.
If you registered to vote by Oct. 9, you are eligible to request an absentee ballot. An absentee ballot for Idaho can be requested at idahovotes.gov. You will need to provide the last four digits of your social security number, and a valid Idaho driver’s license number. The last day to request an absentee ballot is Friday, Oct. 23. Your ballot must be received by the county by Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. Absentee ballots will start being mailed Oct. 13.
“If you want to get out, be active, make your voice count and take place in the political process, it is a great opportunity,” said Muir.
More information about this year’s Nov. 3 Election Day in Madison County is available online at co.madison.id.us.