Mail-In or Walk In - It's Not Too Late to Register to Vote
Twenty-two thousand main-in ballots were mailed out last week but if you haven’t registered yet – don’t worry – Summit County Clerk Kent Jones says it’s not too late to register.
“They can still register online or in person – up through a week before the election," Jones Said. "And then we can still mail ballots out right up until the Thursday before.”
To prevent your mail-in ballot from not being counted - as happened in June’s primary – Jones said those who are mailing their ballots in need to make sure the postmaster puts a stamp on it dated Nov. 7 – a day before the election.
For those who want to put their ballot in one of the drop-boxes – there are six locations that include the Coalville and Kamas city offices and in the Park City area, the Marsac Building – the Richins building – The Fresh Market at Pinebrook and the Trailside admin building.
The drop-boxes will be open election night with the exception of the Trailside drop-box which will be closed at 5 p.m.
As for former polling locations at Eccles, Jeremy Ranch, Ecker Hill, the Burns Fire station and Parley’s Park – Jones said they are no longer polling stations.
“We’ll have two polling vote centers on election day," Jones said. "One at the Marsac and one at the Richins building – for those people who didn’t receive a ballot or who registered late enough that they didn’t get a ballot in the mail. All other polling locations will have signs on saying that they’re closed.”
Jones said the intent of the mail-in ballot is that everyone who is a registered voter will receive their ballot in the mail, and they want you to send it back – by mail.
“The vote center locations on election day are intended for those people who either didn’t get a ballot for whatever reason," Jones said. "Their address was wrong or they registered too late or for ADA purposes.”
If you do go to vote on Election Day – you will need to show your photo ID and you will be asked to surrender your mail-in ballot to prevent people from voting twice.
“Our data-base will know that we have mailed out ballots to all of the registered voters," Jones said. "So we just have to know before we tally the vote totals so that we only get one vote per registered voter. So either the machine vote would count or the the paper ballot would count – whichever comes first.”
Mail-in ballots are beginning to come in and Jones said he anticipates a good start to a process that involves more than just counting votes.
“We will open the tab and compare signatures to verify signatures," Jones said. "If they're verified then it will go on in the process. If for any reason they forgot to sign the envelope or the signature doesn’t match – we will immediately that day send a letter to that registered voter at the same mailing address we sent the ballot to and say, ‘You forgot to sign your envelope – please sign this letter and return it.’ And as long as we get that return back that we can verify then that ballot goes back into the mix for the process to be counted. If they don’t respond to us or we aren’t able to verify that signature – that ballot is set aside until we hear back.”
Signatures are captured on a registered voter data-base from either a voter registration form, a driver’s license or from a previous election. The signature on the envelope, he says, will be compared to the signature on the county’s data-base.
“Once the ballots are qualified – then the tabs are removed from the envelope so that there’s no connection to a person or an individual to that ballot," Jones said. "They’re just generic ballots at that point and then they’re opened and scanned.”
The ballots are then fed into an optic scanner that puts the vote totals onto the server.
“Between now and Election Day we will scan ballots and we will have them loaded onto the memory," Jones said. "Nothings totaled – nothings reported – it’s just in the memory of the server. And then on Election Night – when we close the polls – we bring back the memory cards from the Election Day polling and everything that we’ve counted up to that time will be released on Election Night as unofficial results.”
Jones encouraged everyone to get their mail-in ballots back as soon as possible so that they can get them processed and have them ready for Election Night. Don’t forget to have them postmarked the day before Election Day.
He said the polls are open for people who didn’t get a mail-in ballot and you are more than welcome to put your mail-in ballots into the drop-boxes between now and Election Day.