Utah County Extends Early Voting In Historic Election

Nov 2, 2020, 11:51 PM | Updated: Nov 3, 2020, 7:49 am

VINEYARD, Utah – In a year full of firsts, 2020 is at it again. This time at the polls. Utah County extended its early voting hours through the night Monday, ahead of what is already shaping up to be the county’s largest election ever.

“This election, everything has just been unconventional,” said Amelia Powers Gardner, Utah County Clerk/Auditor.

For starters, this is Utah County’s first general election with mostly mail-in ballots. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, early voting also featured a first, including QR codes, picking up paper ballots and filling them out nearby.

“This will be the largest election we’ve ever done,” Gardner said.

Before 2020, the highest election the county had seen was in 2016, with around 205,000 ballots returned. The county was on track to beat that number by Monday night, the day before Election Day, with ballots returned from 60% of registered voters. By Tuesday county officials expect 80% of registered voters to have turned in ballots.

“My ballot was lost in the mail so that’s why we came here today,” said Crista Montalvan, who voted early in-person Monday. “I think it’s great that people care and want to be involved for sure.”

“I think there’s a lot at stake right now,” said Fausto Montalvan, another voter. “The country is divided. You can tell it’s divided. Nobody wants to be divided. So somehow, we need to find the laws and the regulations that we need to be unified.”

Gardner said staff would be working through the night to process the flood of ballots they were receiving. The turnout prompted Gardner to extend the early voting hours from 4 p.m. Monday to 7 a.m. on Election Day.

“No excuse. We want to make it as easy and accessible as possible,” Gardner said. “This election is different than anything we’ve ever seen and bigger than we’ve ever seen.”

Utah County was preparing for up to 50,000 people at the polls on Election Day. By Tuesday night, they anticipate having counted and processed 80% of the ballots. That would allow them to call just about every race in the county by the end of the night.

“They can feel confident knowing that because we use paper across the board; whether you’re at the polling location or vote by mail we have one process. Which means we have the ability to hyper-focus on that process and make sure it’s safe and secure,” Gardner said.

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Utah County Extends Early Voting In Historic Election