ELECTIONS

Election officials concerned over expected in-person voting turnout

Oct 30, 2020, 3:52 PM | Updated: Nov 1, 2020, 5:00 pm

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)

UTAH COUNTY — With four days until Election Day, some election officials say they’re worried about the expected turnout at in-person polling locations on Tuesday. 

Utah County Clerk Amelia Powers Gardner said she’s “absolutely concerned” about the high-level turnout at the polls, specifically in Utah County. 

“The largest election that I have run in office is 107,000 votes,” Powers Gardner told KSL NewsRadio. “We’re expecting 250,000 voters. Which means there are 140,000 people in Utah County that have never voted with us using all paper ballots, including at the polls.”

Expected election turnout at in-person polls

In-person voters will receive paper ballots at polling locations this year, rather than submitting their votes through machines. This is new for Utah County, which previously utilized polling machines until 2019. 

“Which means we’re going to have 140,000 people that think if they show up to the polling locations, they’re going to be pushing a button on a screen,” Powers Gardner said. 

Instead, voters will arrive to in-person polling locations on Election Day to receive a paper ballot — the exact ballot sent out to mail-in voters.

When voters arrive, election officials will scan IDs before distributing these paper ballots. Voters will then be sent out of the polling location (adhering to COVID social distancing guidelines) before dropping it off in a ballot drop box. 

It’s the same process as mail-in voting — which Powers Gardner said she doesn’t think many voters realize. 

“We’re really concerned that there’s going to be a lot of people who got a ballot at home, could have filled it out and even brought it to the polling location to put it in our drop off polling location — but think that they’re going to have a machine at the polling location,” she said. “They’re going to show up, and there’s not going to be a machine. So I do worry about that.”

Officials expect increased election security

However, Powers Gardner said the shift to paper ballots should help with efficiency and election security. 

“Your ballots look the exact same,” Powers Gardner said. “This helps us for auditing purposes, this helps us with security, we have less processes that there could possibly be an issue with. So, it really is a more safe and secure election.”

With the use of paper ballots, election officials can filter through more voters in a shorter amount of time. With polling machines, only one voter can be helped at a time. But with paper ballots, Powers Gardner said voters can go at their own pace without impeding the line. 

“I didn’t want that to be a problem anymore,” Powers Gardner said. “When you have a machine, you can’t serve the next person in line until that machine is free.”

We want to hear from you.

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

Elections

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will win their respective parties’ primarie...

Eric Bradner, CNN

Biden and Trump win Michigan primaries

Michigan is among the most important presidential swing states — and one that helped deliver Trump the White House in 2016.

4 days ago

Pro-Palestine rally
Caption:	Supporters of the campaign to vote "Uncommitted" hold a rally in suppo...

Gregory Krieg and Eric Bradner, CNN

What to watch for in the Michigan presidential primaries

The Michigan primary takes place on Tuesday Feb. 27, 2024. President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump are expected to win.

5 days ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a primary election night ...

MEG KINNARD and WILL WEISSERT Associated Press

Trump wins South Carolina, easily beating Haley in her home state and closing in on GOP nomination

Donald Trump won South Carolina's Republican primary on Saturday further consolidating his path to a third straight GOP nomination.

8 days ago

Example of ranked choice voting ballot. Twelve cities across Utah will participate in ranked choice...

Adam Small

Utah House passes bill that would end rank choice voting

Utah's ranked choice voting pilot program may come to and early end as the House passes a bill ending the program.

9 days ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump holds gold Trump sneakers at Sneake...

MICHAEL R. SISAK Associated Press

Here’s a look inside Donald Trump’s $355 million civil fraud verdict as an appeals fight looms

On the witness stand last year, Donald Trump proclaimed: "I have a lot of cash." After Friday's eye-popping penalty in his New York civil fraud trial, he's going to need it.

15 days ago

nick clegg...

Associated Press

Tech companies sign accord to combat AI-generated election trickery

Tech executives from Amazon, Google, Meta, Microsoft, OpenAI and TikTok gathered to announce a new framework for responding to AI-generated deepfakes.

16 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Election officials concerned over expected in-person voting turnout