The county clerks focused on two pieces of legislation during the Special Session. One would temporarily create vote centers increasing ease of voting in person at any precinct in the county instead of one assigned to you. The other piece of legislation focused on some temporary changes to the absentee ballot process.
Vote Centers received strong support in the Senate with a party-line vote with all but four Senators voted in favor. Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane introduced both bills on both the House and Senate side. Kootenai County Chief Deputy Clerk Jennifer Locke testified in support in the House and Senate. Canyon County Clerk Chris Yamamoto testified in the Senate, and Bonneville County Clerk Penny Manning testified in the House. These clerks did a fine job explaining the obstacles they are up against running what will likely be a record-breaking absentee election while also running a safe, secure, in-person election. Unfortunately, we ran into opposition in the House State Affairs Committee on Vote Centers. The Vote Centers bill did not make it out of committee.
The absentee ballot legislation had better success, but getting this legislation passed was not without challenges. A Representative convinced the Senate that unless the legislation was amended to include 24-7 live stream security for the opening of absentee ballots ahead of time, then the bill would not make it out of the House. The fast-moving nature of the Special Session meant that we were not able to see the actual amendment until after it was printed. By that point, the entire Senate body was waiting to debate on the bill. With the security amendment, the bill passed both the Senate and the House unanimously. Governor Little signed the bill into law on Thursday morning.