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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Idaho Republican claims state botched mail-in ballot process

This undated photo provided by the Nicholas For Congress campaign shows Republican candidate Nicholas Jones, who is seeking to represent Idaho in Congress. Jones filed a lawsuit on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, claiming that election officials botched the mail-in primary process. (Kristen McPeek / Nicholas For Congress)
By Keith Ridler Associated Press

BOISE – Idaho election officials botched the mail-in primary process, says a Republican candidate seeking to represent the state in Congress who has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to extend the deadline for requesting a ballot until next week.

In the lawsuit filed Tuesday against Idaho Secretary of State Lawrence Denney, Nicholas Jones said the secretary of state’s website became overwhelmed and failed to meet the demand for ballot requests as the 8 p.m. Tuesday deadline loomed, denying some people their only opportunity to prepare to vote.

In the lawsuit, Jones asks for the deadline to be extended until 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 26.. Jones, who owns several board game shops and burger eateries, is challenging first-term Republican U.S. Rep. Russ Fulcher.

Idaho shifted to its first-ever entirely mail-in primary this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Elections officials said they couldn’t secure in-person voting venues or enough volunteers.

Denney’s office said Wednesday that election officials had not yet reviewed Jones’ lawsuit and had no immediate comment.

Deputy Secretary of State Chad Houck said in an interview last week that participation in the primary was strong, “looking like equal or better than the presidential primary” in March.

Jones’ lawsuit said if the extension for requesting ballots is not granted, “qualified electors will be deprived of a meaningful opportunity to exercise their right to vote.”

A U.S. Senate seat, another U.S. House of Representatives seat and all 70 seats in the Idaho House and 35 in the Idaho Senate are on the ballot this year. Many of the races are uncontested.