BOISE, IDAHO | By KEITH RIDLER (AP) — Legislation to make permanent changes in Idaho’s absentee ballot counting procedure has passed the Senate and is headed to the House.

The Senate voted 35-0 on Thursday to approve the bill intended to speed absentee vote counting. It was used in the last general election and spurred by the coronavirus pandemic.

Lawmakers during an August special session approved a law allowing the opening and scanning of absentee ballots beginning seven days before Election Day. But that law expired on Dec. 31.

Election officials say the change allowed county clerks to quickly report the November election results after receiving about 400,000 absentee ballots.