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Counties have systems to ensure secure voting in the Wasatch Back

Preliminary results show 56 votes separate Josh Mann, Mandy Pomeroy and Meredith Reed in the race for Park City school board.
Ballots should arrive in voters' mailboxes this week.

Distrust in elections and allegations of voter fraud prompted dozens of voter security bills in Utah’s legislature in the past couple of years. Wasatch Back county clerks say there are successful safeguards in place.

Each county in Utah must perform what’s called a logic and accuracy test to evaluate mail-in voting systems before counting ballots. Summit County Clerk Eve Furse said Utah has used mail-in voting successfully for nearly 10 years.

She acknowledged national and statewide discussions and politicking on the topic of fraudulent elections but said multiple systems are in place to prevent that.

“You know, if that's something that concerns you, coming in and watching that logic and accuracy test can really allay those fears.”

One method used to ensure voter eligibility is through the Department of Motor Vehicles licensing system.

“And when you do that, you also sign that you are eligible to vote, and you swear to that, and then when you sign your ballot, we compare the signature on that ballot to that signature that you signed on your driver's license or any other signatures we may have on file.”

The Summit County logic and accuracy test is on Thursday, June 9 at 10 AM, and Furse said anyone who wants could observe the process. They’ll run the “test” ballots through their counting systems, but no one in the clerk’s offices will see actual vote counts until polls close.

Wasatch County Clerk and Auditor Joey Granger said 11,000 ballots are being sent to Republican and unaffiliated voters in her county. She said if people aren’t comfortable with voting processes and are concerned about voter fraud, they should call her directly.

"We're putting in place some security measures from legislation down. But also, as a clerk group across the state, we all work together and coordinate and give ideas and help each other and make sure that everybody's on the same page and that we're all catching those things that somebody else might not have thought of.”

She is not aware of any cases of voter fraud occurring in Wasatch County since the state adopted mail-in voting in 2013.

“There are so many steps for identity as far as the ballots coming in and when we're checking them on our site. It's going to be a real rare occasion, [fraudulent voting], but as far as Wasatch County, in my personal experience, I have not [seen fraud], and you know the people in my office that have done it for a long time - they haven't either.”

Granger said she welcomes all questions and encourages observers to attend the Wasatch County logic and accuracy test on June 22 at 3 P.M. at the Wasatch County clerk’s office.

In Utah, only registered Republicans can vote in the Republican primary. The deadline to switch party affiliation closed on March 31. Voters used to be able to change party affiliations on the day of a primary election, but a 2022 law created the new deadline.

Unaffiliated voters – those who aren’t registered with any party – and new voters can register until June 28 as Republicans and be eligible to vote in the Republican primary.

Both Wasatch and Summit County expect a 30% to 50% voter turnout.

KPCW reporter Carolyn Murray covers Summit and Wasatch County School Districts. She also reports on wildlife and environmental stories, along with breaking news. Carolyn has been in town since the mid ‘80s and raised two daughters in Park City.