What happens after you drop your ballot off in Utah?

Nov 3, 2020, 10:42 AM
election turnout utah ballot drop...
FILE -- Melinda Tooley drops off her primary ballot at Midvale City Hall in Midvale on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

OGDEN, Utah — Over a million Utahns have voted in this election, with many more projected to turn in their ballots before 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. But what happens to your Utah ballot once you drop it off? 

Weber County Clerk Ricky Hatch says the process starts before the ballot’s envelope is even open. 

“The very first thing we do is we scan the back of the envelope. What that does is it tells our voter registration system that we’ve received a ballot back from [the voter],” Hatch said. “Then what we do is we scan the signature . . . We compare it to the signature we have in the voter file.” 

If your signature doesn’t match, election workers will reject your ballot. However, voters can fix the problem. 

“If the signature doesn’t match, within 24 hours we will send a letter to the voter. They have until two weeks after the election day to fix that signature issue,” Hatch said. 

Problem-proof your Utah ballot before you drop it off

Keeping the ballot envelope closed are important first steps in the process. 

“These checks are done while the envelope is sealed so we have no idea if the voter is Republican or Democrat or how they voted this particular ballot,” Hatch said. 

Once election workers open your ballot and notice a problem, sometimes they can recreate it to ensure it gets counted. 

“If we identify any of these issues where [the ballot] might not be read by a machine, or if the machine kicks it out, we have a controlled ballot remake process that involves two users and a supervisor. They, essentially, will take the original ballot, remake that on a ballot-marking device, read back the results before they print the new ballot, [and] verify the votes are cast exactly as the voter intended,” Hatch said.

Related coverage: 

Voters in many counties in Utah can also go in person to a ballot replacement location if they notice something is off to get and return a replacement ballot. 

Utah has used a mostly mail-in voting system successfully for many years. But Hatch is also asking people to be patient waiting for the results because a lot of the vote counting will happen after the polls close. 

“We also will scan the ballot and then upload them into the tabulation server. But we never actually count those…until polls close,” Hatch said. 

Hatch says they also do audits to make sure they have every ballot that’s cast and are not missing any. If they are missing one, he says elections officials will look high and low until they find it and the counts match. 

Voters can also track their ballot’s progress via the state website.

Today’s Top Stories


Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock speaks during an election day canvass launch on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 20...
The Associated Press

Democratic Sen. Warnock wins Georgia runoff against Walker

The Associated Press has projected Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock as the winner of the Georgia runoff election.
2 days ago
Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson wants his old job back. ...
Mark Jones

Rocky Anderson announces bid to run for SLC mayor in 2023

Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson announced Wednesday that he is seeking reelection to get his old job back.
8 days ago
A ballot drop box is pictured. Those wanting to vote in the utah primary election can still vote in...
Sydnee Gonzalez

Analysis shows ‘sizable’ gap in Salt Lake’s west side/east side voter turnout

Voters on Salt Lake City's west side turned out for the 2022 midterms at a much lower rate than their east-side counterparts.
15 days ago
FILE: Former President Donald Trump, seen here on May 28, filed his paperwork on November 15 establ...
Gabby Orr and Fredreka Schouten, CNN

Former President Donald Trump says he’s launching another White House bid

On Tuesday, former President Donald Trump announced that he will run again for President in 2024.
23 days ago
Rep. Kevin McCarthy was nominated by a secret ballot of his peers to replace Rep. Nancy Pelosi if R...

McCarthy wins nomination for House speaker, but grind ahead

McCarthy won the nomination Tuesday from his GOP colleagues in a secret ballot election. But it's just the start.
23 days ago
utah house members...
Elizabeth Weiler

Utah welcomes new house members in both parties

There are three new party members in both the Utah House and Senate, and a full female line-up in the Utah Democrat's leadership.
23 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

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...

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...

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!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
What happens after you drop your ballot off in Utah?