Denney wanted to delay the primary, but that won’t happen

(UPDATED, March 30, at 4:30 p.m. with comments from Gov. Brad Little.)

BOISE — Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney asked Gov. Brad Little to delay Idaho’s May 19 primary election, but that won’t happen.

In a letter sent to Little Friday, Denney cited “serious concerns” over holding the election as scheduled, and asked the governor to push it back to at least June 16.

Lawerence Denney

“The use of polling places presents a particular challenge in light of the danger we now face as a result of the coronavirus,” wrote Denney, adding that the request followed consultation with Idaho’s 44 county clerks.

Little’s office announced Monday afternoon that there would be no change to the original primary election date of May 19. Rather, the election will be conducted by mail pursuant to the existing laws for absentee voting.

“While the coronavirus situation may change how we practice our right to vote in this primary election, it is important to keep our election dates in place,” Little said in a news release. “I urge all voting Idahoans to request their absentee ballots as soon as possible so they can vote from home this year.”

Denny’s office said earlier Thursday that the absentee-only approach will include a #VoteEarlyIdaho campaign with mailings to all registered voters informing them of the absentee process and timelines.

“Please do your part to help us keep you and your neighbors safe by requesting your absentee ballot today,” Denney wrote to Idahoans in a related news release Friday. “This will give our county clerks and their teams more time to respond to the increased volume of requests under the current conditions.”

Voters can request an absentee ballot at

Denney asked Idahoans to share the campaign on social media using the hashtag #VoteEarlyIdaho. Online promotional materials for the campaign can be found here.

The COVID-19 crisis has prompted at least three school districts to table bond issues for the upcoming election.

  • The Idaho Falls School District tabled its $85 million bond issue.
  • The Emmett School District voted last weekend, yanking a $62.5 million measure from the ballot until further notice.
  • West Ada School District trustees voted last week to table a $68.7 million bond issue. The district will still ask voters to approve a two-year, $14 million supplemental levy that’s been in place since 2012.

It’s still unclear which districts plan to put local measures on the May ballot.

Check back with EdNews for more on this developing story.

Devin Bodkin

Devin Bodkin

Devin was formerly a senior reporter and editor for Idaho Education News and now works for INL in communications.

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