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Idaho Advances Legislation to Ban Ballot Drop Box

The state House passed the bill by just two votes; it was opposed by 21 Republicans and 12 Democrats. Those in favor of the legislation claim that the boxes create risk for fraud because they’re unattended.

(TNS) — The Idaho House on Monday narrowly passed a bill that would ban ballot drop boxes for elections.

Supporters said boxes are unattended, which could lead to ballot tampering. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Priscilla Giddings, previously said there have been no issues with drop boxes in Idaho.

"I don't think there's a huge need for drop boxes now, but I think there is a huge need ... that our process is safe and fair," the White Bird Republican, who is running for lieutenant governor, said Monday. "I think this is just one small step that we can take to reassure voters of election integrity in Idaho."

Republicans across the U.S. have targeted drop boxes before and since the 2020 election, when ballot boxes were a popular way to vote amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Similar legislation and executive orders banning, limiting or securing drop boxes have come out of Georgia, Texas and Nebraska, while other states have seen challenges to ballot boxes through their courts.

The Idaho House passed Giddings' bill by just two votes. Rep. Dorothy Moon, a Stanley Republican, said ballot boxes in her district are unattended.

"This is a very easy fix for election integrity in this state," Moon said.

Rep. John Gannon, a Boise Democrat, said he's used an unattended mailbox on the Boise Bench for four decades and has never had a problem mailing checks.

"Where is the problem with drop boxes?" Gannon said. "These drop boxes are useful, convenient and essential for voter participation in our state."

Twenty-one Republicans joined the 12 House Democrats to oppose Giddings' bill. House Majority Caucus Chair Megan Blanksma, a Hammett Republican, said she was concerned the bill might unintentionally ban voting by mail — Giddings said it wouldn't.

Blanksma also said the drop boxes are useful for rural voters and recently have been used by voters in Elmore and Owyhee counties, part of her legislative district.

"They were really efficient for rural areas," Blanksma said. "They gave us options so that we can get those ballots in without using the mail."

The bill now heads to the Senate.

(c)2022 The Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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