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News >  Pacific NW

Bill banning ballot drop boxes is dead in Idaho Senate

UPDATED: Fri., March 18, 2022

By Keith Ridler Associated Press

BOISE – Legislation eliminating drop boxes and similar drop-off locations for absentee ballots in Idaho will not get a hearing in the Senate, a powerful committee chairwoman made clear Friday.

Republican Sen. Patti Anne Lodge chairs the Senate State Affairs Committee where the bill was sent after passing in the House 37-33.

Lodge said she received thousands of emails opposed to the legislation, “especially from people with disabilities, elderly people, and people with children who couldn’t wait in line.”

Lodge, who is retiring this year after serving 11 terms, declined to specifically say the bill won’t get a hearing, but twice said, “I think it’s obvious what’s going to happen with the bill,” when pressed for a definitive answer.

Backers of the bill said drop boxes are susceptible to theft and arson. Opponents said drop boxes are especially useful in rural areas, and the measure could eliminate the U.S. Post Office as a place to drop off ballots.

A false narrative of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election by former President Donald Trump and others has led to a wave of new voting laws in the U.S. The restrictions especially target voting methods that rose in popularity across the country during the coronavirus pandemic.

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