Election Officials Anticipate Busy Polling Day | KUER 90.1

Election Officials Anticipate Busy Polling Day

Nov 6, 2016

Election officials are warning of long lines this week as only a third of Utahns have taken advantage of early voting and mail-in balloting.

There was no line at the River’s Bend Senior Center near Rose Park for the handful of residents who took advantage of the last day of in-person early voting on Friday.

Jeremy Matthews was one of those who came out to avoid the crowds.

“I heard there were going to be long lines and in anticipation, I want to get it done while I can,” he says.

Matthews also found the vote-by-mail ballot confusing.

“The instructions on the mail-in ballot weren’t actually how you mail in the ballot, so I was worried about using that and having my vote lost,” he says.

Because this is the first year Utah has implemented statewide mail-in ballots, election officials are concerned people are delaying their vote.

Utah County is bringing in an extra 100 poll workers for next Tuesday and Salt Lake County is upping its capacity as well.

Mark Thomas, state director of elections, says the best strategy for skipping the line is to get your mail-in ballot postmarked by Monday, or drop it off in person on Tuesday.

“As soon as you know how you’re going to vote, then get that ballot in," he says. "Even if it’s on election day and you have it completed and you want to drop it at a polling location, or a ballot drop box.”

With election rigging and voter fraud a topic of concern, officials are also setting up hotlines and websites to report complaints. Utah U.S. Attorney John Huber tapped a District Election Officer, a position he appoints every major election cycle.

“He will be by his phone all day long on the day of the election, while the polls are open, and will take calls directly,” he says. “ So there’s no middle man, no bureaucratic red tape. He will take calls directly on election fraud or voting rights abuses that people may be concerned about.”

Huber says Utah is fortunate to have had problem-free elections and doesn’t anticipate anything different this year.   

For more voter information, check out KUER's election guide page.