By Zach Hagadone
November might seem like a long way off, but voting in the 2020 General Election, set for Tuesday, Nov. 3, will soon start ramping up.
According to Bonner County Elections staff, sample ballots will be available at the Elections office (1500 U.S. 2, Suite No. 124 in Sandpoint) beginning Friday, Sept. 18 — the same day overseas voters’ ballots will start going into the mail.
Domestic absentee ballots will be mailed by Thursday, Oct. 1. Elections workers emphasized that those ballots will go out in batches, “Thus, your neighbor may receive their ballot but you might have to wait an extra day or three.”
Absentee voters must request their ballots — they will not be automatically mailed out to voters unless they have been requested. To request a ballot, check voter registration, make changes to registration or track the status of a ballot request, go to idahovotes.gov/online-voter-tools.
Absentee ballots may be filled out and returned as soon they are received. What’s more, elections officials recommend that ballots should be returned “the sooner the better for our elections office due to the enormous volume this year.”
Meanwhile, as the election approaches, voting-age citizens around the country — including in Bonner County — who have not yet registered are being encouraged to take part in National Voter Registration Day, which this year takes place on Tuesday, Sept. 22.
Established in 2012, the day is designed to encourage a concerted effort to spur participation in elections. Nearly 3 million Americans have registered to vote on the holiday since its inaugural observance.
This year, the East Bonner County Library District is partnering with the Bonner County Clerk’s office and KRFY 88.5 FM to take part in the national event, Tuesday, Sept. 22, with registration drives at various locations from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Volunteers will be helping Bonner County voters register, order absentee ballots and answer any questions about voting in the November election 8-8:45 a.m. and 1:10-2 p.m. at the Sandpoint High School lobby, 410 S. Division Ave.
Volunteers will also be on hand at the Sandpoint library lobby (1407 Cedar St.), Clark Fork library (601 Main St.) and Bonner County Elections office (1500 U.S. 2, Suite No. 124 in Sandpoint).
For residents outside Bonner County, nationalvoterregistrationday.org provides a listing of National Voter Registration Day events — both in-person and virtual — taking place across the country.
For more information or questions about National Voter Registration Day, contact Mike Bauer at the Sandpoint library, 208-265-2665. Other election resources can be found at bonnercountyid.gov/departments/Elections, idahovotes.gov and elections.sos.idaho.gov.
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