Historic primary participation

by Tonia Brooks
Staff Writer | May 21, 2020 1:00 AM

BONNERS FERRY — Voting in this year’s primary election is different from past elections.

The May 19 primary election is the first of its kind for the area in that all ballots will be cast by the absentee ballot method.

“We have surpassed our highest number of voters at any given primary,” said Glenda Poston, Boundary County clerk. “We are processing ballots within 2-3 days of receiving a request, if not the next day.”

This historic election has two main differences.

One change is there were no polling places on Tuesday, May 19, to walk into a voting booth and vote. The other important difference is that voters have until June 2, by 8 p.m., to get their ballots to the Boundary County Clerk’s office.

“So remember that just because you mailed your ballot on June 2, 2020, that we will not receive your ballot in the required time,” explained Poston. “I have spoken with the Post Office and all ballots that are dropped in the mail drop sites are sent to Spokane for processing and so they will not be back in time.”

Voters may take their completed ballots to the Postal Clerk and ask that the ballot be “round dated.” The postal clerk will then place the ballot into the Boundary County Clerk’s post office box. If voters choose this route on the last day to vote, June 2, they must do so before the post office closes at 4:30 p.m.

There is some confusion about whether voters will be able to vote on their mail-in absentee ballot and then choose to personally place it in a ballot box, instead of placing it into the mailbox.

Boundary County has a ballot box set up outside of the courthouse for voters who wish to cast their vote in person. The box will not be manned on a regular basis, though an Election Monitor will be present outside of the courthouse on May 19 and June 2 until 5 p.m.

“I strongly urge all to vote ASAP, and get those ballots back to us,” said Poston. “Again, there are drop boxes out front of the courthouse; Please use them, they are secure, and taken inside each and every day.”

If voters have not received their mail-in ballots, and they believe that they should have received it already, Poston invites them to let the Boundary County Clerk’s office know.

The original primary date, May 19, was the deadline to request an absentee ballot.