ELECTIONS

Poll watchers will be a part of the election process

Oct 12, 2020, 11:09 AM | Updated: 4:53 pm
voting poll watchers...
FILE - In this Aug. 11, 2020, file photo, a voter casts a ballot at a drive-thru voting station in the Barre Civic Center in Vermont's statewide primary in Barre, Vt. Voting will look a little different this November. States are considering drive-thrus, outdoor polling places and curbside voting as they examine creative ways to safely offer same-day polling places during a pandemic. Poll watchers may play a part in ensuring the process is fair and equitable. (AP Photo/Lisa Rathke, File)
(AP Photo/Lisa Rathke, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — This week registered voters will start to get their mail-in ballots in Utah. And from now past election night, volunteer poll watchers are keeping an eye on the process.

Candidates, groups, and political parties have poll watchers, and state law allows it.

Officials say they welcome the extra eyes.

“I think it is imperative to have third parties check the process,” said Utah County Clerk/Auditor Amelia Powers Gardner. “I think it is great to have confidence in our elections.”

Gardner says her office facilitates and welcomes poll watchers. They cut large windows in the wall of the ballot center so anyone from the public could watch the tabulation.

How poll watchers do their work

Davis County Clerk/Auditor Curtis Koch says poll watchers don’t just come on election night. They can watch as workers tabulate and verify Utah’s mail-in ballots for the next three weeks.

“The caveat is, based on the election area that they are watching, there can be limited poll watchers (because of social distancing). So we do give preference to candidates, initiatives and political parties,” said Koch.

Related coverage: 

Some poll watcher volunteers come from the ACLU of Utah. Voting Rights Coordinator Niki Venugopal says she wants them to report any major issues at a polling place to the ACLU.

“But we are not expecting those,” she said.

Venugopal says volunteers are also driving around the counties in Utah, checking secure locked boxes. Though she said they have not had any issues with drop boxes before, either.

Poll watching on social media

She also assigns ACLU volunteers to watch social media.

“We are all inundated on our social media feeds with a lot of information and not a lot is accurate,” said Venugopal. The watchers are supposed to look out for attempts to mislead voters or suppress voters with misinformation or disinformation.

Powers does a lot of correcting people online as well. She reminds them that elections are different state by state and even county by county.

“That can cause some confusion if you see your cousin in California posting something that’s different than in Utah County,” she said.

She said people should go to the source to get the information for their location.  Then share correct information and give your county clerk’s website or vote.utah.gov.

Koch says knowing the facts helps with public trust in the elections.

“We have wonderful staff that are your friends and neighbors that are running this election. And that’s what you see statewide. That’s part of the security of the system.”

Read more about the rules for poll watchers in various states here

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Elections

Sen. Karen Mayne...
Devin Oldroyd

Utah Dems to hold special election filling the seat of Sen. Karen Mayne

Utah Democratic will hold a virtual special election at 6 p.m. on Jan. 15, to fill the seat of Sen. Karen Mayne as she steps down due to health issues.
14 days ago
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 05: U.S. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) cheers in the House...
Clare Foran, Manu Raju, Annie Grayer, Melanie Zanona and Lauren Fox, CNN

House to hold 12th vote in longest speaker contest in 164 years

Originally Published: 06 JAN 23 05:07 ET Updated: 06 JAN 23 12:57 ET By Clare Foran, Manu Raju, Annie Grayer, Melanie Zanona and Lauren Fox, CNN     (CNN) — Kevin McCarthy is locked in a fight for his political future as the California Republican attempts to win the votes he needs to become speaker of the […]
21 days ago
Utah Congressman Blake Moore feels everyone has a different dog in the fight. Meaning, some politic...
Elizabeth Weiler

Voting for house speaker, Utah representative weighs in

Utah Congressman Blake Moore feels everyone has a different dog in the fight. Meaning, some politicians won't change their minds about McCarthy for personal reasons.
21 days ago
John Curtis...
Mark Jones

Rep. Curtis says Rep. McCarthy has experience to lead as House Speaker

Utah Rep. John Curtis says Rep. Kevin McCarthy has the experience to be House Speaker. This comes after McCarthy has failed to be elected after six rounds of voting.
23 days ago
Arizona judge orders Republican Kari Lake, pictured here, in Phoenix on December 18 to pay fees for...
Stephanie Becker, CNN

Arizona judge orders Kari Lake to compensate Katie Hobbs for some fees for election lawsuit, but declines to sanction her

An Arizona judge ordered Republican Kari Lake to reimburse Democratic Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs for legal fees stemming from Lake's challenge of the outcome in the state's race for governor.
1 month ago
Rep. Adam Robertson, R-Provo, talks to Rep. Melissa Garff Ballard, R-North Salt Lake, in the House ...
Aimee Cobabe

Rep. Adam Robertson steps away from Utah legislature

The Republican Party will hold a special election to fill the seat left by Rep. Adam Robertson (R-Provo), who announced he is resigning from his position to focus on his employment.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
Poll watchers will be a part of the election process