Iron, Carbon counties add early voting days after mail ballot delays

Nov 4, 2022, 3:38 PM | Updated: Nov 18, 2022, 5:46 pm

CEDAR CITY, Utah — Iron County has announced it will expand days for early voting after a shipping mistake caused the county to cut ties with the printer.

In an emergency bulletin Thursday night, Iron County Clerk Jon Whittaker said the ballots were printed by Oct. 14 and could have been legally mailed by Oct. 18. However, Whittaker said, “a fateful decision to use (shipping company) Pitney Bowes to sort the ballots into carrier order was made and was neither discussed nor approved by Iron County.

“The ballots were sent to a Las Vegas Pitney Bowes facility,” Whittaker continued, “and subsequently mixed with other mail. Instead of being mailed, they appear to have moved around the Pitney Bowes system for at least 10 days.”

Whittaker said some ballots were delivered to the Salt Lake City Post Office on Oct. 27, and those ballots were delivered to mailboxes on Oct. 29. Although the company told the county that 16,000 ballots had been delivered, Iron County officials began to question that all ballots had been fulfilled because of the low number of ballots that had been returned, according to Whittaker.

On Thursday, he said, an unmarked pallet of mail containing ballots arrived from the company. While those ballots are “likely to hit mailboxes tomorrow,” Whittaker said, they are still not all of Iron County’s ballots.

Vote Watch: Thousands of Utah ballots delayed due to printer issues

“By law, ballots must be segregated, identified and prioritized over other mail,” Whittaker said, adding that the printer of the ballots has been fired.

As a result, the county has extended early in-person voting this weekend, as many ballots seem unlikely to arrive in time.

Voting will be available at the Cedar City Municipal Office on Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Parowan will hold early voting at the courthouse on Friday, Saturday and Monday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sunday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Here are early voting times for other Iron County municipalities:

  • Enoch: Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Brian Head: Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Summit: Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Kanarraville: Monday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Beryl Junction: Monday from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Carbon County also added an additional day of in-person voting due to a delay in ballot delivery, and will have early voting open on Friday and Monday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.

“If you haven’t received your ballot please come in and vote in person if you can,” Carbon County Clerk Seth Marsing told KSL on Friday. “If you can’t, or you know of someone who can’t make it our office, please contact us. We have several ways to either take out a medical-release ballot or curbside voting.”

Marsing said as of Friday evening, only about 15% of Carbon County ballots were still undelivered. He said his county has also cut ties with the printer.

With ballots arriving so close to Election Day, the counties are reminding that they need to be postmarked by Monday, Nov. 7, and that it’s too late to mail them on Election Day.

Iron County’s emergency notice about the ballot delays encouraged residents planning to mail their ballots to get a hand cancellation stamp on the envelope from the post office proving that it was mailed by Nov. 7.

Those who wish to return their ballots on Election Day must take it to a ballot drop box.

KSL TV’s Ladd Egan contributed to this report.

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Iron, Carbon counties add early voting days after mail ballot delays