Utah County voters angry over long lines at the ballot box
UTAH COUNTY – Utah County voters expressed frustration when going to the polls today and that is due to the long lines they had to wait in.
This was 19-year-old Jacob Berkowitz’s first election. When he got to the Lehi City Office, he saw the line of voters lining through the halls and out the door.
‘It took about an hour and a half. It was a long line,” he says.
Joining him in line was Lehi resident Miriam Gonzales. She believes the biggest logjam was at the desk where voters show their IDs.
She says, “They should have had more people which would speed the process.”
Lehi is not the only city where voters seemingly had to wait for a very long time. In Orem, people say they also had to wait 90 minutes, and some voters in Saratoga Springs say they waited two hours. Back in Lehi, Larry Dew says the line was so long, he decided to go home and try his luck later.
He says, “The people met me at the door and they told me it was going to be a two-hour wait. I said, ‘I don’t feel like I can stand here for two hours.’”
His wife, Jenny, says this delay was extremely disappointing. She claims she didn’t get a mail-in ballot, most likely because she recently moved. She feels she needed to chase down her ballot.
“All these years, we’ve voted and, all of the sudden we make this one move and everything goes chaotic. It’s not that we didn’t try. We tried,” she adds.
Several different factors combined to create the delays at the polls for Utah County voters. County Clerk Bryan Thompson says the biggest reason is the language on the ballot, itself. He says people took longer to read the language, which was a lot longer than in years past, especially for constitutional amendments.
He says, “Some of the language on some of the some of those issues was five or six paragraphs.”
Thompson says it took people between seven and eight minutes to fill out ballots this year, compared to only two to three minutes in past races. Plus, this was the first year that same-day registration was used in Utah County, and many people took advantage of it.
“There are organizations and campaigns out there that are actually informing people that that’s the case,” Thompson says.
Voters weren’t the only ones frustrated with the long lines. One man conducting exit polls in Lehi, who wanted to stay anonymous, says people were so frustrated after waiting so long to cast their ballot, they had no interest in being questioned afterward.
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