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Ada County residents check in to vote in the Idaho primary elections at the Ada County General Elections building in Boise on Tuesday, March 10, 2020.

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BOISE — Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney sent a request to Gov. Brad Little on Friday to delay the May 19 primary election,and to close all polling locations, due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Denney's request comes after several meetings between his office and Idaho's 44 county clerks to find alternatives to in-person voting for the May 19 primary. 

Denney said in the letter that his office is requesting an order to delay the election to no earlier than June 16, giving registered voter the opportunity to request an absentee ballot.

"The recommendations by federal, state, and local public health authorities to limit public interactions makes the use of traditional polling places on Election Day extremely hazardous if not logistically impossible," Denney said in his letter to Little, that was released to the media Friday evening.

In his letter, Denney said he believes absentee voting is a safer way to conduct the election.

"A one-month delay in the election would provide the needed time to inform voters, parties, candidates and others about the changes in this process," Denney wrote. "My office is actively working with the clerks to develop an extensive voter outreach program and ensure all registered voters have access to an absentee ballot request form. This allows all registered voters the opportunity to make the needed ballot selection and will provide them the ability to vote safely at home."

Regardless of the governor's decision on the election date, the Secretary of State's office and Idaho clerks will be promoting absentee voting through the #VoteEarlyIdaho campaign, which will include mailings to all registered Idaho voters informing them of the absentee process and timelines.

In order to expedite the process for Idahoans to request their absentee ballot , the Secretary of State’s office has made online absentee ballot requests available for those registered electors with an Idaho driver’s license or ID card.

Visit IdahoVotes.gov to request your absentee ballot. Downloadable request forms are available for those without the requirements for the online system. Ballot request forms can also be obtained from county clerks offices and websites.

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