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Summit County ballot counting continues, some races already decided

The Summit County Courthouse in Coalville.
Parker Malatesta
The Summit County Courthouse in Coalville.

Around 1,300 in-person votes remain to be counted.

More people voted in person this week than in past elections, and the Summit County Clerk’s Office still has to process all of their ballots.

Summit County Clerk Eve Furse said Wednesday that around 1,300 in-person votes remain to be counted. As of Wednesday evening, her office has processed close to 19,000 ballots.

In-person turnout approached 5%, which Furse said was an increase compared to past elections. In-person voting happened on Election Day and during four early voting days.

In addition, about 500 ballots need signature verification, and a little over 200 were provisional.

While the margin for the two races for county council is over 2,000 votes, other races are much closer. In the race for North Summit School Board, Kevin Orgill leads Meredith Blakley by 45 votes. Similarly, Matthew Weller leads his opponent Steven Hardman for a seat on the South Summit School Board by 48 votes.

Summit was the last county to report in Utah, with initial results posted on the state’s election website at 2:15 a.m. Wednesday morning. In a presentation to the Summit County Council Wednesday, Furse attributed that delay to several local races that had write-in candidates as an option, which she said takes more time to review.

Additionally, two candidates dropped out before Election Day. Alan Siddoway dropped out of the race for Summit County Sheriff, and Michael Franchek bowed out in his bid for county council after ballots had already been mailed to voters.

Furse said that by law, votes for withdrawn candidates cannot be counted. “It’s sort of a complex process to do that,” Furse said. “The process of making sure we caught all of the write-in votes, and then also didn’t report results we weren’t allowed to report, it just took a long time.”

Results are not official until the canvass on Nov. 22.

Furse said total voter turnout in the county was roughly 68%. That’s a decrease from the previous national midterm election in 2018, when countywide turnout was 80%. Summit County has gained over 3,000 new registered voters in the last four years.