Voting by mail has been one of the hot topics of this election season. National headlines have questioned both the security and the process. Salt Lake County voters should not be concerned, as our county has had years of experience in voting by mail, and our Salt Lake County Clerk has been running successful, secure, and reliable vote-by-mail elections since 2013. As a Salt Lake County voter, you can be sure that your vote will be counted. In fact, Utah was ranked second in the nation for protecting voter privacy and data.
The Salt Lake County Clerk mailed ballots on October 13th to all active registered voters in the county. Your ballot should have arrived in your mailbox that same week. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked on or before November 2nd (the day before Election Day) to be counted.
Besides having a postage-paid envelope to return your ballot, Salt Lake County has offered 21 secure drop boxes throughout Salt Lake County where ballots can be returned. The locations are listed on the ballot instructions included in ballot packets, and can be found at got-vote.org. Ballots can also be returned to the county clerk’s office or to a vote center. If you aren’t returning your ballot by mail, it must be dropped off at one of the above locations before 8 p.m. on Election Day. A limited number of vote centers will be open on Election Day, but with all social distancing guidelines and precautions around the pandemic, voters are encouraged to use the vote-by-mail system to avoid potential lines and long waits. The vote centers are to accommodate those who did not receive a ballot in the mail.
Some people may not realize how ballots are processed and counted. When the ballots arrive at the clerk’s office to be processed, the first step is a signature match. This is done electronically by a state-of-the-art machine designed just for this purpose. Ballots with signatures that don’t match what the clerk has on file are “challenged” and the voter is contacted to confirm their identity. Once they’ve verified the voter’s identity, the signature and the ballot are then separated to protect the voter’s privacy and the ballot goes into another machine to be counted.
After the clerk tabulates all the votes, the results are then certified by the Board of Canvassers, comprised of the Salt Lake County Council Members. The official results are then sent to the State Elections Office. In Salt Lake County we have cameras filming all rooms where ballots are held. There must be at least two people in an area when ballots are handled. Salt Lake County has been complimented by elections attorneys around the country for our secure process. In Utah, you can track your ballot’s progress at vote.utah.gov to make sure it is counted.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who can’t wait for the election season to end, but at least we know that here in Salt Lake County voters can rest assured that their ballots will be counted, that the process is secure, and that their privacy is protected.
Aimee Winder Newton has been serving on the Salt Lake County Council since January 2014. She is the current chair of the council. Her district encompasses Murray, Taylorsville, West Valley City and West Jordan, and a small portion of South Salt Lake and Millcreek... [read more]
|Aimee Winder Newton||
aimee winder newton: County Council district 3