After year of mail only voting, polling places will return to Utah County in 2018

Mar 27, 2018, 8:25 PM | Updated: 9:26 pm

PROVO— From the mailbox, back to the ballot box. That is the plan this year in Utah County for elections, following last November’s exclusive voting by mail.

Last year’s municipal election was all by mail in Utah County, and for most people it was easy to drop their ballot into the mailbox. Turnout for cities was higher than usual, according to Bryan Thompson, the Utah County Clerk who is the elected official responsible for elections in the county.

“Voting all by mail in a municipal year, does raise it from the 20 percent to 30 percent mark.”

There will be two elections this year in Utah County. The primary on June 26, and the general election on Nov. 6, but if you want to vote by mail this year, you’ll have to take the time to sign up in advance.

Despite local cities wanting to use vote by mail to handle the 2017 municipal election, the county had to send a ballot to every registered voter and for those voters whose addresses were not up to date.

“We got about 20,000 ballots back that were undeliverable, and to me that is an unfortunate cost to the taxpayer,” he said.

But the county will offer early voting and the option of becoming a permanent absentee voter, which will allow voters to vote by mail.

Already 45,000 voters have registered for this in Utah County.

Still, many voters like to vote in person, even with voting by mail.

“We had 7- or 8,000 people who showed up at our vote centers for problems, who were just turning in ballots,” Thompson said.

County officials say voting exclusively by mail, could be back in a couple of years, once the voting machines have to be relicensed, which will add to the cost to voting in person.

“I am just trying to best utilize the resources, the taxpayer resources and get us into a position where we can educate the public and make that transition to what the public will tell us through their actions, what their preference is,” Thompson added.

If you do want to vote by mail in Utah County this year, go to vote.utah.gov and register for an absentee ballot.

RELATED LINK: vote.utah.gov

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After year of mail only voting, polling places will return to Utah County in 2018