Early absentee voting opens Friday

September 21, 2018

With early absentee ballots now available, Teton County residents can begin voting Friday.

Registered voters can request a ballot by emailing, calling or writing the county clerk’s office. They can also obtain ballots directly from the office in the basement of the county building at 200 S. Willow Street.

Then they can fill out and cast their ballots whenever convenient, anytime between now and the Nov. 6 general election.

“It gives them the opportunity to sit down and discuss issues with their families or spouses and friends in the privacy of their own home,” County Clerk Sherry Daigle said, “rather than hurry up and fill in a ballot on election day when people are waiting to get into the ballot booths.”

On the other hand, however, those early birds risk voting without all the information that will be available by election day.

For example, Daigle noted that Senate candidate Charlie Hardy withdrew from the race just before the primary election in August, nullifying any early votes for him.

In 2014, the last midterm general election, 33 percent of ballots cast were absentee, according to the clerk’s office. In the two adjacent presidential elections, 43 percent were absentee in 2012 and 56 percent in 2016.

Daigle said a bill giving counties the option to mail ballots is working its way through the state Legislature. If it wins approval, every registered voter in Teton County would receive a ballot in the mail, essentially making all voting absentee.

“There’s still a lot of naysayers out there,” Daigle said, “but the clerks are supporting it.”

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