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Utah election volunteers say they haven’t seen threats during primaries

Jun 25, 2024, 7:49 PM

SALT LAKE CITY A rise in threats against people volunteering to work during elections have become problematic in the last four years.

So much so, that 18 states have since passed laws to protect poll workers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Utah, however, has not been a state to pass protection laws for volunteers in elections, and National Conference says that states like Utah ought to consider such legislation as political tensions rise.

“Election workers’ security is something we’re very concerned with,” said Ryan Cowley, director of elections for Utah.

In the state, threats and harassment of election workers hasn’t been a big issue, but officials fear things could get worse.

“We are seeing signs of that,” Cowley said. “And that is very concerning to us because these are people who live in the communities where they’re counting the vote.”

Nothing too alarming

Volunteer workers in Salt Lake County tell KSL TV they haven’t experienced threats or anything too alarming so far, but they have seen more online bullying and skepticism from voters.

“It can be very demoralizing to see some of what the trolls put online,” said Salt Lake County Clerk Lannie Chapman.

It isn’t always a bad thing, however. Chapman says she’s watched Utahns become more involved by showing up to observe and understand how the process works.

“It’s been really wonderful to give a lot of tours to show people the amazing processes that highlight the safety and security of the ballot.”

She added that it has also led to more people turning out to participate.

“In Utah, when they push back, we push even harder,” Chapman said. “So it’s a good thing, coming out more. It’s amazing to see the amount of people that want to come and volunteer, and we have seen an increase in the amount of people that have reached out to us saying, how can we help?”

KSL TV witnessed a lot of younger faces in the crowd of volunteers working the polls at the voting center in Salt Lake County, which echoes what’s being said about more people wanting to show up and help, even in the face of local and national tensions.

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Utah election volunteers say they haven’t seen threats during primaries