On the first day of the Utah legislative session, talk of changes to mail-in ballots

Jan 16, 2024, 8:00 PM | Updated: Jan 25, 2024, 9:17 am

voter affidavit ballot signature line...

Mail-in ballots must be signed to be counted. This is an example of what that looks like on the return envelope for Salt Lake County ballots. Photo: Becky Bruce, KSL NewsRadio

SALT LAKE CITY — Among the hustle and bustle of the first day of the Utah legislative session was talk about changing the deadline for mail-in ballots.

One proposal would require that mail-in ballots arrive at the clerk’s office by Election Day.  Right now, they must simply be post-marked on election day.

H.B. 214, Election Modifications is sponsored by Rep. Norman K. Thurston, R-Provo. It would modify existing law to say that “for a mailed vote to be valid, the election officer must receive the ballot in the office before the polls close on election day.”

Part of the reasoning behind this is frustration, said Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson, whose office oversees Utah elections. 

 “Legislators hear from constituents who get frustrated on election night, that … it takes a long time in certain races to be able to determine a winner,” Henderson told KSL NewsRadio.

“They’re still waiting for ballots that were mailed. So, how can we get ballots in to be counted sooner.”


Salt Lake County Clerk Lannie Chapman said changing the law won’t bring faster election results.

“It’s not uncommon for us to get about 100,000 ballots on election day. We still have to process all of those,” she said.

In this case, ‘processing’ means checking dates, reviewing, and then counting the ballot. She said it’s a process that simply takes time.

“We see hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands of “good” ballots, or ballots that have a good postmark, after election day.”

Chapman believes H.B. 214 would make it harder for many voters to have their voices heard.

Opting in to vote by mail

H.B. 92 Voting Amendments, is sponsored by Rep. Kera Birkeland, R-Morgan. H.B. 92 would require voters who want to vote by mail to opt in. Currently, county clerks send mail-in ballots to Utah residents automatically.

As KSL NewsRadio has previously reported, Birkeland says this idea has two benefits. It cleans up voter rolls, she says, and it gets people to actively participate in voting.

Birkeland attempted to pass similar legislation late in the 2023 legislative session. 

Henderson isn’t exactly sold on the proposals she’s seen in the early days of the 2024 session. 

“I worry about the idea that a clerk actually has to have it in hand before polls close on election night,” she said. “There’s a lot of room for human error there, there’s a lot of room for shenanigans.”

Related reading:

We want to hear from you.

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


A woman found unresponsive by police in Box Elder Creek was pronounced dead at a hospital on Tuesda...

Simone Seikaly

Woman found unresponsive in Box Elder Creek pronounced dead

Brigham City police were investigating a possible missing person when they said they found a body in Box Elder Creek

14 hours ago

FILE: Spectators watch as the Artemis I uncrewed lunar rocket lifts off at NASA's Kennedy Space Cen...

Don Brinkerhoff

Utah company completes solid rocket boosters for NASA’s Artemis

Northrup Grumman says the Arrtemis rocket boosters can carry nearly five metric tons more than the previous boosters. 

14 hours ago

The new West Davis Highway in Davis County on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024. The new 16-mile, four-lane divi...

Tim Vandenack

West Davis Highway gets high marks after 7 weeks; noise still an issue for some

The new 16-mile corridor is a divided, four-lane, limited-access roadway meant in part to ease congestion along I-15.

15 hours ago

FILE: Vietnam War veterans gather for a photograph following a ceremony to recognize and honor Viet...

Eric Cabrera

Veterans can soon sign up for the largest-ever expansion of VA health benefits

On March 5, vets who served in a combat zone, beginning with the Vietnam war, can directly enroll in VA healthcare.

17 hours ago

Utah's avalanche danger has been dangerous for the last week, with the Utah Avalanche Center report...


Skier severely injured following avalanche near Little Water Peak

A skier was injured after being caught in an avalanche on Monday Feb. 26. The skier was hoisted to safety.

23 hours ago

Liver and kidney transplant patient Luis Campos says he's grateful he had a Spanish-speaking team....

Eric Cabrera

Murray kidney clinic helping the Latino community

MURRAY, Utah — Intermountain Health has taken steps to address healthcare in Latino communities by opening Utah’s first fully Spanish-speaking Kidney Transplant Clinic. The Intermountain Clinica Hispana de Riñon (Hispanic Kidney Clinic), in Murray, aims to provide a space for members of the Latino community navigating the complex kidney transplant process. The clinic has bilingual professionals, […]

1 day 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.

On the first day of the Utah legislative session, talk of changes to mail-in ballots