Board of Canvassers 11--18-20

Idaho's state Board of Canvassers, including state Controller Brandon Woolf, left, and Secretary of State Lawerence Denney, right, on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020; the board's third member, state Treasurer Julie Ellsworth, participated by phone. The Board of Canvassers certifies the results of the election, which are now final.

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Idaho’s state Board of Canvassers met today and certified the results of the Nov. 3 election; in the final accounting, Idaho saw 81.2% of its 1.08 million registered voters turn out. “State and county election officials and workers are to be commended for their dedication, patience and flexibility in staging a successful general election under the challenging circumstances of a global pandemic,” Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney said in a statement. “Idahoans cast a record number of ballots, a record number of which were early or absentee ballots, and produced the highest percentage voter turnout we have seen for any election this century.”

The state Board of Canvassers includes Denney; state Controller Brandon Woolf; and state Treasurer Julie Ellsworth, who participated in today’s meeting by phone while the other two attended in person.

The state canvass, conducted after each county has canvassed its results, makes the results of the election official. All told, a record 878,527 Idahoans cast ballots. More than half — 56.2% —were cast early, either through absentee voting or in-person early voting.

The highest turnout counties, by percentage of registered voters, were Fremont, 88.1%; Kootenai, 87.4%; Butte, 86.3%; and Idaho, 85.1%. The lowest were Madison, 71%; Jerome, 73.9%; Clark, 74.9%; Latah, 76.2%; and Elmore, 76.9%.

Ada County’s final turnout was listed at 81.8% of registered voters; Canyon County’s was 78.5%.

Jason Hancock, deputy secretary of state and elections director, noted that the election set a record for the number of ballots cast and the number of registered voters, and also for percentage turnout since 2000. Since then, the previous high mark was 77.1% in 2008.

According to Idaho Secretary of State’s office records dating back to 1980, the previous record during that period was 80.46% of registered voters in 1992. Idaho’s turnout is much lower when calculated as the percentage of the voting-age population casting ballots. In 1992, that figure was 66.45%; in 2016, 59.07%. Hancock said the office hasn’t calculated that figure this year.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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