Behind Scenes, Poll Workers Led to Successful ID Election
Election workers were the driving force behind a 2020 election that was like no other before it.
COVID-19 meant changes, including a surge in absentee ballots.
Chad Houck, Idaho chief deputy Secretary of State, said 14 times as many absentee votes came in compared with past elections. He also noted that the pandemic meant fewer people were available to work the polls.
"They did a tremendous job," Houck stated. "And we certainly owe the success of the Idaho election and, to a great part, the election in the nation, on those poll workers that were able to step up and step in."
Houck told the Idaho Statesman there were only about 15 voting incidences that raised flags, out of more than 878,000 ballots cast. He noted these weren't cases of fraud, just cases that needed a closer inspection. Only one case made it all the way to the Secretary of State's office.
Houck stressed election workers were flexible.
"Some we actually had to fly into locations around the state in order to get them there in a timely manner," Houck confirmed. "They served, they stayed out away from their families for an extra day because we had to figure out how to get them back logistically. And some of those locations didn't wrap up until 3, 4, 5 in the morning."
Houck contended the long hours workers put in added credibility to the election. He added we usually think about the process of an election when something goes wrong, but not when things go right.
"The fact that, in so many cases, things did go so smoothly is just a huge testament to these folks that a couple times a year step up and step into these roles and provide services to their fellow Idahoans, fellow Americans to give them the opportunity to exercise that right to vote," Houck acknowledged.
Houck concluded some remote training the state developed for this election is likely to stick around for future elections.