Davis County is trying a vote-by-mail system for the primary election this spring and the general election in the fall.
Voters in Davis County received letters last week telling them about the changes. Election Manager Brian McKenzie says ballot packets will be mailed out 28 days before each election. When they come back, they’ll be verified using a bar code and by comparing the voter’s signature to their registration forms.
“When the envelope comes in, that has the bar code," McKenzie tells KUER. "That’s scanned and associated with the voter. After the signature is verified and we determine that yes, the ballot sealed inside this envelope is voted by this voter, we remove the personal identifiers from that envelope.”
The ballots are then counted using an optical scanning system.
McKenzie says the whole state is watching Davis County’s experiment to see how well it goes. But in Oregon, they’ve been using a vote-by-mail system for every election since 2000.
Tony Green with the Oregon Secretary of State’s office says mail voting has resulted in increased participation.
“Where we really see an impact is in off-year elections, in primaries," Green says. "It’s typical in some states that a primary election will get 10-percent. We typically get over 40-percent.”
For those who like doing it the old-fashioned way, there will be seven voting centers set up in Davis County where voters can fill out the same ballot on election day.