Election Day 2022: Utah polls close, preliminary results will be delayed
SALT LAKE CITY — The deadline for mailing ballots has passed, and polling centers have officially closed on Election Night.
Individuals who made it in line at polling centers before 8 p.m. however, are still able to cast their vote.
Voters who turned in a mail or provisional ballot can check the status of their ballot at votesearch.utah.gov.
Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson on Monday asked all 29 county clerks in Utah to wait until polling places have closed, and until all voters who are in line by 8 p.m. have cast their ballots, before posting any election results.
“While I’m hopeful early election results will go live shortly after polls close at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, this guidance may impact the release timeline for results in Utah,” said Henderson, the state’s top election official, in a statement. “Eligible voters deserve the opportunity to cast their ballots without outside influence, including data from preliminary results.”
That means election results may not start being available until well after 8 p.m., especially since Iron and Carbon counties have expanded in-person voting after mail ballots were delayed. It’s unclear how long lines will be in those counties, but officials are prepared for a long night.
Henderson tweeted shortly before 8 p.m. and said due to long lines, expect 30-45 minute delays for any preliminary election results.
Due to long lines in various polling locations, please expect at least 30-45 minute delays for any preliminary election results. We want to ensure all voters in line at 8:00 PM have the chance to vote first. I’ll keep you updated on progress or changes. Thanks for your patience.
— Deidre Henderson (@DeidreHenderson) November 9, 2022
Iron County Clerk Jon Whittaker said Monday the county had received 9,000 ballots so far, out of around 28,000 registered voters in the county. He said he is unsure how many of the remaining registered voters plan to vote Tuesday, and how many will need to vote in person because they never received a ballot in the mail.
“We haven’t been able to know exactly how many people received ballots,” he said. “So, we’ve kind of planned for the worst-case scenario.”
Gov. Spencer Cox visited Salt Lake County’s ballot processing room on Tuesday and praised Iron and Carbon county officials for quickly stepping up to add in-person early voting. He said he’s not concerned about their process going forward.
“We are a vote-by-mail state, but we are also an Election Day state. So, people can show up (and) vote, they can register to vote on Election Day,” he said.
Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swenson said she expects to have hundreds of thousands of votes tabulated and ready to release to the public at 8:01 p.m. but her office may need to hold off on releasing numbers.
“We’ve been told — and all the other counties in the state — that we’re not to release results until the last person in line has voted,” Swenson said. “Because they’re concerned that there would still be people in line, especially in those couple of counties where there are more people apt to vote in person.”
“I feel very badly for the couple of counties that had an issue where the ballots didn’t get delivered to the voters, and so now they’re scrambling trying to have more access to the in-person voting,” she continued.
Swenson said she doesn’t expect long lines at any of the 42 voting locations in Salt Lake County.
Henderson visited a polling location in the Spanish Fork Senior Center and the Utah County Elections Division in Provo on Tuesday morning, where she reassured the public of her confidence in the security of Utah’s elections.
“Everything I have seen, it gives me a lot of assurance and hope that things are gonna turn out just the way we expect them to — which is that every eligible voter’s vote will count and that it will count accurately and fairly,” she said.
EVENING ELECTION UPDATE: As of 7:30 PM, statewide turnout is 45.5%
— Deidre Henderson (@DeidreHenderson) November 9, 2022
Some voters in Weber County experienced a hiccup on Tuesday as they said their navigation systems directed them to the Weber Center, which was used for early voting but not Election Day voting, according to officials.
The in-person voting site is at the Exhibit Hall at the Weber County Fairgrounds. Weber County Clerk Ricky Hatch said his team has updated its information to make sure it is as accurate as possible online.
Voter turnout was 45.5% statewide as of 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, according to Henderson — up from 36.6% in the morning. Wayne, Garfield and Grand counties led the state in voter turnout, with 72.2%, 69.7% and 67.4% participation, respectively. Cache County had the lowest turnout as of Tuesday afternoon, with 31.2%.
Just over 48% of Davis County voters had turned out by Tuesday afternoon, and 36.9% of voters in Salt Lake County and 38.8% in Utah County.
Utahns can check preliminary results as soon as they appear on KSL.com’s election results page. After Tuesday, people can expect daily updates at 5 p.m. until the final statewide canvass.
KSL TV’s Karah Brackin contributed to this report.
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