Bill banning ballot drop boxes in Idaho clears House

March 7, 2022 GMT

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Legislation eliminating drop boxes and similar drop-off locations for absentee ballots in Idaho narrowly cleared the House on Monday and headed to the Senate.

The House voted 37-33 to approve the measure backers said is needed to keep elections fair but that opponents said is a needless law that could hinder if not outright suppress voting.

“I think this is one small step that we can take to reassure voters of election security in Idaho,” said Republican Rep. Priscilla Giddings, the bill’s sponsor. She argued drop boxes are susceptible to theft and arson.

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. that will tighten access to the ballot for millions of Americans.

The restrictions especially target voting methods that have been rising in popularity across the country during the pandemic.

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More than 20 Idaho Republicans voted against the bill, including Republican Rep. Megan Blanksma.

“We had one in Elmore County, one in Owyhee County, and they worked really well,” she said. “They were really efficient for rural areas.”

She also said the measure could eliminate the U.S. Post Office as a place to drop off ballots.