Utah lawmaker wants to create text, email notifications for tracking ballots

Jan 1, 2021, 5:33 PM
tracking ballots...
Michael Fife removes ballots from a bag as election workers process ballots at the Salt Lake County Clerk’s Office in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (Photo: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)
(Photo: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — After a contentious presidential election in 2020 that spurred distrust in mail-in voting, one Utah lawmaker wants to ease concerns through legislation that would notify voters once their ballot has been counted. 

A bill to simplify tracking ballots

Under current law, the lieutenant governor’s office is already required to track all ballots deposited through mail or drop boxes. After sending off their ballot, Utah voters can then track its location to ensure it’s been tallied

Now, Rep. Dan Johnson (R-Logan) wants to make it one step easier. 

It’s just really simple,” said Harry Hansen, communications specialist for the Utah House majority. “When your ballot is counted, you can opt in to receive a text message or email notification that your ballot has been counted.”

When Utahns register to vote, they can sign up for text or email tracking notifications. If they’re already registered, all they need to do is call the lieutenant governor’s office or their country clerk to opt in.  

That way, Johnson said he hopes to restore public trust in the mail-in voting system — which he believes Utah has done “very successfully.”

“This would be one more thing to help people be a little more comfortable with mail-in voting,” he said. “That’s one of the things I hope this bill would do, help public trust and mail-in voting. Personally, I believe in it […] I hope some of the people who have doubts in the process can trust in the system.” 

Lawmaker wants to restore trust in mail-in voting

The inception of his idea came after months of distrust in mail-in voting seen across the country, eventually leading to unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in the call for President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. 

Almost 60% of voters say they are confident with the way elections were run in 2020, according to a study from the Pew Research Center. Confidence is largely split along party lines, as 94% of voters who supported Mr. Biden said thought elections were “administered well” — compared to just 21% of those who voted for President Donald Trump.

Only 59% of voters say they are “very confident” their own votes were counted in the general election, with another 26% reporting they are “somewhat confident.” That confidence is also split between parties, as 82% of Biden voters say they are “very confident” and only 35% of Trump supporters say the same. 

Before Election Day, Utahns had an overwhelming amount of support for mail-in voting. According to a September Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll, 75% of voters who have voted by mail say they believe their vote was counted properly. 

Only 4% said they don’t believe their ballot was counted, with the remaining 21% reporting they weren’t sure. 

Johnson said he “personally” believes in mail-in voting — and wants to strengthen that trust through his bill that will be introduced during the 2021 General Legislative Session. 

“It is just a national issue,” he said. “That’s the reason for my concern with it. I think there’s real concern for trusting our system and there’s nothing more important than voting. That’s how democracy works.”

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Utah disaster funding earthquake study...
Simone Seikaly

What Utah can expect from federal funding after a disaster like Ian

What can those in Utah expect from federal disaster funding when a natural disaster on par with Hurricane Ian hits home?
7 hours ago
Special Olympics Unified soccer teams compete for championship....
Waverly Golden

Special Olympics Unified soccer teams compete for state championship title

This afternoon Utah’s top 16 Special Olympics Unified soccer teams competed for the state championship title at the RSL soccer stadium.
7 hours ago
A surface-to-surface missile is fired into the sea off the east coast in this handout picture provi...
Yoonjung Seo, Caitlin Hu, Eric Cheung and Brad Lendon, CNN

US and South Korea test-fire missiles in continued response after North Korea launch

In response to a recent test missile launch by North Korea, the US and South Korea launched four missiles off the Korean Peninsula Wednesday morning.
7 hours ago
Deputies with the Duchesne County Sheriff's Office are investigating a new scam to hit the area and...
Mark Jones

New scam in Duchesne County includes threat on life of a family member

Authorities in Duchesne County are warning people to be on the lookout for a new scam in which a caller threatens to kill a family member if certain financial information isn't provided.
1 day ago
Gov. Spencer Cox appointed John D. Luthy to the Utah State Court of Appeals on Tuesday....
Mark Jones

Gov. Cox appoints John Luthy to the Utah State Court of Appeals

Cache County Attorney John Luthy has been appointed by Gov. Spencer Cox to serve on the Utah State Court of Appeals. Luthy has been practicing law since 2003.
1 day ago
Police in Tooele are looking for an armed robbery suspect that forced three schools into lockdown o...
Mark Jones

Three schools in Tooele went into lockdown Tuesday afternoon

An armed robbery suspect caused three schools in Tooele to go into lockdown on Tuesday afternoon. The lockdown was lifted at the end of the school day. The suspect is still being sought.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Utah lawmaker wants to create text, email notifications for tracking ballots