Monday, May 5, 2008

Vote Early, Vote Often

Posted By on Mon, May 5, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Ada County wants to get the vote out nice and early this spring.

The county is hyping its newly expanded early voting system, which includes a new location in Meridian.

Check out the details in the county's own words:

"The Ada County Elections Department is feverishly preparing for the May 27 Primary Election. In our primary two

years ago, only 21% of Ada County’s electorate voted. Nationally there is a lot of interest in this year’s Presidential Primaries, but it is hard to say if that enthusiasm will transfer to Idaho. This year’s turnout may be most affected by the Memorial Day holiday, it falls the day before our Primary Election.

Whether you are out of town or at home this election, there are a number of options to assure you can vote. First we have an additional early voting site. Beginning May 12th, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, including Memorial Day, Ada County residents regardless of voting precinct may vote at the Ada County Weed, Pest and Mosquito Abatement office located at 975 E. Pine Avenue in Meridian or the Public Safety Building at 7180 Barrister, in Boise.

Second, registered voters may vote by mail. Log on to www.adaweb.net/elections and go to the Vote by Mail/Early Voting link. Complete the Absentee Request Form and send it to our office. It must be received by 5:00 pm, May 21st for us to mail you a ballot.

Finally, you can vote at your neighborhood precinct. After the last election we consolidated one precinct and added 13: mostly in the western part of the county. “Where do I vote?” at www.idahovotes.gov will show you the location of your polling place. We will also mail every registered voter in Ada County an updated notification card with the location of his or her polling place as well as how to vote our new ballot. This mailing should be delivered the week of May 12.

Regardless of whether you vote early, by mail, or at the polls, you will be using our new optical scan ballot. Like the old SAT tests we all used to take, it is a paper ballot; to vote you just fill in the oval to the left of the candidate or issue of your choice using a dark blue or black ink pen. The key to voting this ballot is to fill in the oval: check marks, Xs, or written comments can interfere with how the tabulator reads your ballot. If you make a mistake, just ask for a new ballot.

Every ballot issued in Ada County will have a line drawn through at least one candidate’s name. We printed our ballots in an effort to mail overseas military personnel 45 days preceding the election per federal voting guidelines. That 45-day guideline is also the last day candidates may withdraw. Ten candidates withdrew after our ballots were printed. It was less expensive to draw lines through the ballots than reprint, so remember the lines through the names are all right.

This primary ballot is one page and double sided with the Democrats on the front and the Republicans on the back. Be sure to vote only one party and the related non-partisan races on one side. If you cross over and vote for races on both sides, your entire partisan ballot will be invalidated.

The May 27 primary ballot contains partisan races for President, the United States Senate and House of Representatives, Idaho State Senators and Representatives, as well as Ada County Commissioner, Sheriff, and Prosecuting Attorney. All of these positions affect our daily lives and your vote could very well determine who is nominated for November’s general election, so be sure to vote.

Your elections department is in the process of testing the new voting system, as well as recruiting and training some 900 poll workers and election night personnel for the May 27th Primary. If you have any questions, give us a call at 208-287-6860 or check us out at www.adaweb.net/elections."

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