HEALTH

What are the rules at the polling place in Utah?

Oct 30, 2020, 7:13 PM
Matt Gephardt, KSL investigative reporter

SALT LAKE CITY — When voting in person in Utah, you should wear a mask. But if you’re wearing a pro-Trump MAGA (Make America Great Again) mask, you will be asked to turn it inside-out. So what are the other polling place rules in Utah?

Polling place rules according to Utah Code:

Part 5
Voting Offenses:

20A-3a-501 Prohibited conduct at polling place — Other prohibited activities.
(1) As used in this section:
(a) “electioneering” includes any oral, printed, or written attempt to persuade persons to refrain
from voting or to vote for or vote against any candidate or issue; and
(b) “polling place” means the physical place where ballots are cast and includes the physical
place where a ballot drop box is located.
(2)
(a) An individual may not, within a polling place or in any public area within 150 feet of the
building where a polling place is located:
(i) do any electioneering;
(ii) circulate cards or handbills of any kind

(iii) solicit signatures to any kind of petition; or
(iv) engage in any practice that interferes with the freedom of voters to vote or disrupts the
administration of the polling place.
(b) A county, municipality, school district, or local district may not prohibit electioneering that
occurs more than 150 feet from the building where a polling place is located, but may regulate
the place and manner of that electioneering to protect the public safety

On the scene in Utah

KSL investigative reporter Matt Gephardt said not only are campaign signs prohibited within 150 feet of a polling place, you can’t even wear a lapel pin (or candidate hat or shirt) within the same distance of a polling place.

But Gephardt said when he traveled to the Salt Lake County Government Center (2100 South and State) where voting is currently underway, he spotted political bumper stickers where voters in vehicles were dropping off their ballots into a drop box.

“[They were] well within 30 feet of the building,” Gephardt said. 

He said he witnessed people wearing lapel pins and hats of a political nature walking into the building. 

Letting it slide

Gephardt said he took the matter up with Salt Lake County election officials. They told him they knew electioneering violations were happening but said, “Yeah, we know it’s against the rules, but it’s easier just to get these people moved out. Let them vote, get them moved out quickly,” Gephardt recalled.

He said the same lack of enforcement was happening in Utah County.

“We’ll maybe tell people they’re not supposed to do it, but we don’t want to create a scene,”  Gephardt said, pointing out that the italicized part was a direct quote.

He said the rules are being enforced more strictly in Washington County where signs will be posted prohibiting voters from wearing certain things from entering the polling place.

Gephardt said the rules are also being enforced in Weber, Davis and Cache counties. 

“If you walk in with a lapel pin, they’re going to tell you to take it off. If you walk in with a hat, they’re going to tell you to take it off,” he said. “If you walk in with a shirt that says, ‘I support Joe,’ you’re gonna have to put on a jacket or go to the bathroom and turn the shirt inside out.”

Face masks required — or not

Gephardt also said lawyers for the county and election officials are saying the requirement for wearing a mask at a government polling place is bumping up against a clause in the U.S. Constitution that states; elections be free and fair — but lean toward the latter.

In Salt Lake County, Gephardt said he heard a man walk in and say, “I’m not going to wear a mask.” He wouldn’t say why not, and he was offered one, Gephardt said. 

To get to the voting machines, the man had to walk by a half-dozen signs saying, “Face Masks Required.”

See something wrong at the polls?

Gephardt said if you see something in the next few days or on Election Day that doesn’t seem quite right, you’ve got an advocate in the KSL Investigators.

You can let us know about by clicking on the Vote Watch section on this website, KSLTV.com or by calling/texting 385-707-6153.

We want to hear from you.

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

Today’s Top Stories

Health

A new study finds that reports of bad weather and air actually decrease ridership on the UTA....
Devin Oldroyd

Relief from inversion and poor air quality may be in Utah’s near future

The Beehive State is in the middle of some thick inversion and poor air quality, but relief may be on the way according to the National Weather Service.
2 days ago
A study by Intermountain Health that spanned 40 years and sought answers about the health of people...
Simone Seikaly

Intermountain’s 40-year study provides insight into weight-loss surgery

In some cases the results from the weight-loss surgery study were expected. But at least one result could be a cause for alarm and caution.
2 days ago
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued a recall for mil...
Simone Seikaly

Check your pantry, a Conagra canned meat recall may affect you

Millions of pounds of canned meat and poultry products (mainly Vienna sausages) are involved in the Conagra recall.
2 days ago
Two temporary federal pandemic emergency assistance programs are coming to an end in the coming mon...
Waverly Golden

As two federal pandemic emergency-assistance programs near an end, Cox has solutions

Two temporary federal pandemic emergency assistance programs are coming to an end in the coming months due to more job opportunities.
2 days ago
FILE - A doctor loads a dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, at ...
Aimee Cobabe

Bill banning vaccine passports heading to Utah Senate

A bill to ban vaccine passports is heading out of the Utah House and into the Utah Senate. The bill is similar to a failed bill from 2022.
6 days ago
A bill on transgender healthcare — banning transgender-related surgeries and puberty blockers for...
Eliza Pace, KSL TV and Aimee Cobabe, KSL NewsRadio

Utah Senate approves changes to transgender care bill, passes on to Gov. Cox

SB16 bans gender-confirming surgeries for minors and also places a moratorium on puberty blockers for minors.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
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
What are the rules at the polling place in Utah?