Idaho Attempts to Lure Voters With Food Truck-Style Polls

© Ada County Elections
By Gillie Houston Posted September 28, 2016

The trucks were designed to make voting a more fun, festive experience.

Things Americans love: Food trucks. Things Americans hate: Voting poll lines. This mindset was what drove one government problem solver in Idaho to develop a convenient new voting system in order to appeal to those who are turned off by lengthy lines.

Phil McGrane, the chief deputy clerk of Idaho's most populous area, was seeking an enticing way to get voters to cast early ballots for the presidential election when he was inspired by the design of ever-popular food trucks.

According to ABC News, McGrane designed a number of colorful mobile polling stations, each patriotically painted and bearing a cartoon Uncle Sam to encourage the county's citizens to earn their "I voted" sticker. They cost around $50,000 each, a creative investment in democratic participation.

Each trailer will be hauled to various towns around Ada County for three weeks beginning in October, allowing voters in those areas to cast their ballots in their own backyard, rather than seeking out their specific precinct, which can sometimes be located towns away.

Come election day, the trailers will be used as backup precincts.

Leo Morales, the executive director of Idaho's American Civil Liberties Union, applauds Ada County's efforts to shake up the voting process. "We typically hear of efforts making it harder for people to vote," says Morales. "So the fact that this county is making it more accessible is commendable."

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Idaho is one of 37 states that offers early voting, and McGrane hopes that by making punching the ballot a fun and fast process, more and more Idahoans will cast their votes well ahead of November 8.

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