It took a COVID-19 pandemic, but the state of Idaho will conduct its first-ever vote-by-mail-only election in May.

Because of a lack of election workers and the health risks of going to polling places, our more conservative neighbor to the east will follow a two-decade Oregon tradition, with one significant difference: Voters must still request their ballots, not receive them automatically.

"While the coronavirus situation may change how we practice our right to vote in this primary election, it is important to keep our election dates in place," Gov. Brad Little said in a statement reported by the Idaho Statesman.

Oregon has long been a pioneer of vote by mail, which has new appeal in an era when voting booths could be virus incubators. But adopting vote by mail is a polarizing and partisan issue, and anathema to conservatives, as The Washington Post detailed Thursday.