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CALDWELL — Canyon County saw a higher percentage of voter turnout in the Nov. 3 general election than in the 2016 general election.

The county saw an increase of more than 16,000 ballots cast this year than in 2016.

The Board of Canyon County Commissioners canvassed the election results Thursday, making them the final results. 

Canyon County saw 78% voter turnout on Nov. 3, compared to 73% in 2016.

The county also saw an expected increase in absentee ballots cast, given the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2016, county voters cast approximately 16,000 absentee ballots, which more than doubled in 2020 to nearly 38,000.

Canyon County Clerk Chris Yamamoto said the county mailed more than 43,000 absentee ballots. He said many voters decided to spoil their absentee ballots at either early voting locations or their Election Day polling place; that action declares the ballot void and allows the voter to cast a vote in person instead. 

Spoiled ballots did pose a challenge for the elections office, Yamamoto said, because the Idaho Secretary of State's system did not allow county elections workers to easily mark a spoiled ballot. Yamamoto said in one case it took the election worker 47 minutes to spoil a ballot. 

The county also experienced a challenge with positive COVID-19 cases among poll workers and elections office workers. 

The election's office did not provide a percentage breakdown of voters' political party affiliation in the 2020 election, but based on the votes cast in the presidential election, about 68% of county voters cast ballots for GOP President Donald Trump. About 28% cast ballots for former Vice President Joe Biden (D), and 4% cast votes for the Constitution Party, Independent Party and Libertarian Party candidates. 

Rachel Spacek is the Latino Affairs and Canyon County reporter for the Idaho Press. You can reach her at rspacek@idahopress.com. Follow her on twitter @RachelSpacek.

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