'Food Truck Voting' Aims To Attract Early Idaho Voters With Convenience : The Salt Idaho's most populous county is adopting the convenience of food trucks to attract more early voters. But a new system doesn't agree with everyone in a campaign cycle filled with election fraud talk.
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How 'Food Truck Voting' Is Catching On In One Idaho County

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How 'Food Truck Voting' Is Catching On In One Idaho County

How 'Food Truck Voting' Is Catching On In One Idaho County

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Early voting is underway across the country, and one county in Idaho is serving up a twist - a mobile voting booth that moves to different locations kind of like a food truck, but it offers ballots instead of burritos. Frankie Barnhill of Boise State Public Radio reports.

FRANKIE BARNHILL, BYLINE: It's lunchtime in downtown Boise. A line of people forms outside a bright blue cargo trailer parked in an office building lot. A loud generator hums, feeding power to the trailer. Phil McGrane is the elections official who came up with the new Ada County mobile voting booth. Locals describe it as food truck voting and it was inspired by - get this - McGrane's love of Kansas City barbecue.

PHIL MCGRANE: One of my hobbies on the side is competitive barbecue. And if you were to go see me set up, you'd see some pop-up tents and a trailer. And so it's taking some of those ideas and just flipping it for voting.

BARNHILL: Voters check in at the window, then turn to fill out their paper ballots in the covered tent. An electronic ballot box waits for them at the exit, along with the I Voted sticker. And because it's 2016, people have been exercising their right to selfie with the cartoon Uncle Sam painted along the side of the trailer.

MCGRANE: We're pretty happy to see that because we think it helps spread the word.

BARNHILL: The attention-grabbing nature of the mobile polling place is intentional, and it seems to be working. Boise voter Mary Lucachick saw the booth on Facebook and decided to cast her vote here.

MARY LUCACHICK: I was a little curious about the whole mobile voting thing. I just thought it would be kind of fun to check it out. I've never voted early before.

BARNHILL: Ada County has a computerized voter roll, which makes it easy to print off ballots no matter what precinct a voter lives in. McGrane sees the booth as the wave of the future in elections, relieving the pressure put on polling places on election night. At $50,000, the cost of the voting trailer is low compared to the rest of the county's election budget.

MCGRANE: Our effort is to get people to vote. Whether that's in Ada County or in any other state in the United States, we want to spread the word.

BARNHILL: Ada County is on track to triple its previous early voting record thanks in part to the popularity of food truck voting. For NPR News, I'm Frankie Barnhill in Boise.

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