Utah County promises better in-person voting in 2020 election

Oct 20, 2020, 5:00 AM
in-person voting caused long lines in 2018...
Photo Credit: Jeffrey D Allred, Deseret News

Long lines from slow in-person voting caused Gov. Gary Herbert to call Utah County the “epicenter of dysfunction” in the 2018 mid-term election. Since then, Utah County has a new clerk who’s promising to do better.

Amelia Powers Gardner told KSL-TV last week they have new scanners and better-trained employees and they’re ready for election day.

“We have over-prepared for the number of people we expect at the polls. We know that we’re going to have a lot. We’re prepared to serve three times the number of people at the polls that voted in 2018,” Gardner said.

Voting in-person does not mean by machine

If you look on the Utah County Clerk’s web page to find out where in-person voting locations are, you’ll see those sites listed as “Ballot Pick-Up Locations.”

Gardner said that’s to avoid voter confusion.

“There were a lot of people that thought, if they showed up at the polling location on election day, they were going to get to vote on a machine. And so we changed the term to ‘ballot pick-up location’ to help them realize and to help explain to the public that we use paper ballots,” she said.

There are eight of these Ballot Pick-Up Locations in Utah County where in-person voting will happen on election day. That compares to fifty-nine in-person voting locations in Salt Lake County.

Who to call for help

If there are extremely long lines, security issues or other problems at in-person voting locations in Utah, there is a number to call. Nikila Venugopal with the American Civil Liberties Union says that number is 866-OUR-VOTE.

“That is the national Election Protection Coalition hotline number, and the ACLU of Utah is the Utah state lead for that coalition,” Venugopal told KSL NewsRadio.

No problems expected for Utah County voting in-person

Stewart Peay, the chair of the Utah County Republican Party, doesn’t expect problems with in-person voting on election day.

“I know they’ve looked back at what has happened in Utah County before, and I feel like we’re in a much better place than we were even two years ago,” Peay said.

And Peay believes Utah’s track record shows its vote-by-mail system works reliably, even if other states only recently followed suit during the pandemic.

To find out how to contact your county clerk and more information about your ballot, visit the KSL NewsRadio 2020 Election Guide

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Utah County promises better in-person voting in 2020 election