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How safe are Utah’s mail-in ballots from voter fraud?

Jun 30, 2020, 6:08 AM

Image of a person voting by mail in Utah. After a Utah lawmaker suggested that voters should have t...

FILE- A employee at the Utah County Election office puts mail in ballots into a container to register the vote in the midterm elections on November 6, 2018 in Provo, Utah. (George Frey/Getty Images)

(George Frey/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – With the overwhelming majority of voter fraud in the U.S. tied to mail-in ballots, it’s no surprise some Utahns are skeptical about participating in an all mail-in primary election. 

Weber County Clerk Ricky Hatch believes Utah voters do not need to worry because the state has protections others do not. 

One of the biggest ways they fight voter fraud is by checking signatures on the ballots. 

“Every single signature is compared to signatures that we have on file. We keep up to five for the voter, and that goes through several levels of review if the initial review failed,” Hatch says. 

If a signature is rejected, a voter is notified but can also prove that it was them who turned in the ballot. 

Mail-in ballots are also scanned the moment county clerks get them, and that information is put into a state database so a voter cannot vote twice. 

Hatch also says the dead are not voting in Utah. 

“We make sure that people who have passed away are removed from the list. We do that by getting updates from the state Department of Vital Statistics, as well as county clerks looking through the obituaries just to make sure,” Hatch said. 

Utah also works with other states to make sure only Utahns are voting in state elections. 

“They don’t actually share the voter data. But they share it in an encrypted format so that duplicate voters across state lines can be detected, and then they’re removed from the appropriate state,” Hatch said. 

Another way Utah protects its mail-in elections from voter fraud is by tracking people’s addresses. 

“When people move and they tell the Post Office, we can tap into that database. That gives us a chance to contact the voters. If we don’t hear back from them, then they are inactivated,” Hatch says. 

While Hatch believes the risk of voter fraud is low, he is also encouraging people to report any suspicious activity, like someone illegally filling out a mail-in ballot for someone else, to the authorities. 

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How safe are Utah’s mail-in ballots from voter fraud?