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More Than 16K Have Voted In Person In Salt Lake County So Far

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Friday is the last day for early, in-person voting for most of Utah, and elections officials are already seeing record turnouts at the polls.

So far, 16,000 people have voted early in Salt Lake County, and authorities are encouraging anyone who doesn’t have a mail-in ballot to take advantage of the shorter lines before the polls close.

The state election office reported Friday that 851,016 ballots have already been processed. That puts Utah voter turnout so far at 52.3% for the general election.

“It’s unprecedented already,” said Lannie Chapman, Salt Lake County chief deputy clerk. “We’ve already had over 340,000 ballots returned on top of the 16,000 people that have voted already.”

“I think people are very passionate this year,” she added. “… Everybody is very passionate about what is important to them, and it’s amazing.”

Salt Lake County says turnout is so high that they are monitoring the drop boxes over the weekend

“It’s crazy,” Chapman said. “We’ve never had to empty them on Sundays. This election we’ve had to empty them on Sundays because they’re so full.”

“So if you forgot to sign it, if your signature looks a little different than the signature we have on file, we’re going to reach out to you,” Chapman said. “We’re going to send you something by mail. If we have your phone number we’re going to text you. We’re going to call you. We’re going to email you if we have your email address. We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure that your vote counts.”

“We are getting literally hundreds of phone calls a day. Some of our most common phone calls are, ‘I made a mistake on my ballot. What do I do?’” said Utah County Clerk/Auditor Amelia Powers Gardner. “So for those wondering, you can just cross out the mistake and fill in the one you want. If you’re really nervous, you can circle the one you want as well and we’re going to catch that.”

“One of the biggest things I want people to know is that if you use those drop boxes, we’re checking those on Saturday, we’re emptying them on Sunday,” Gardner said. “We’re in the office processing ballots this weekend. No one touches those ballots except for official election judges.”

The clerk’s office at 2100 South and State Street will be open until 5 p.m., and there are 12 other satellite locations in the county that will be open from 2 –  7 p.m.

There are also 21 drop box locations in the county that will be open until 8 p.m. on Nov. 3. Election officials said the bins have been getting full quickly, and they’ve been having to empty them out often – even on Sundays.

Officials voters shouldn’t worry if they have dropped off or mailed in a ballot and are concerned about any issues such as matching signatures. If there is an issue with the ballot, authorities will contact the voter by phone, email or text.

Nov. 17 is the deadline to have all the votes counted and any issues resolved.

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