Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

October 7, 2014
County clerk’s office answers voter questions

Permanent By-Mail Ballots were sent out last week. If you live in a By-Mail Precinct (Dugway, Ibapah, Lake Point, Ophir, Rush Valley, Stockton, Terra, Vernon and Wendover) and have not received your ballot, please contact me.

We have received a number of new by-mail requests that will go out the end of each week. Applications for By-Mail Ballots will be accepted until Thursday, Oct. 30.

With ballots going out, there have been a number of questions heard at the clerk’s office from citizens. Here are just some of the common ones with answers provided:

Question: If I vote a straight party vote, does it vote for all of the candidates in that party?

Answer: Yes. There is no need to go through the entire ballot and mark the candidates of the party you voted for. It does not, however, vote for the judges, Constitution Amendments, School Board (if applicable) or School Bond.

Question: What if I want to vote straight party for all but one office?

Answer: This can be done by voting for the straight party and then in the one office you want to vote for a candidate of a different party, mark the space next to their name. This will vote for all of the candidates in the straight party you voted for, except for the one scratch you made for the candidate of the other party.

Question: What if I don’t want to vote for everything on the ballot, will it nullify my ballot?

Answer: No. As long as you don’t vote for both candidates in one office, every vote on your ballot will count, even if you don’t vote for every office.

Question: If I live in Stansbury Park, but work in Tooele, can I vote at a polling location in Tooele City?

Answer: Yes. During county elections anyone in Tooele County can vote at any polling location located in the county.

Question: How do I know my By-Mail Ballot is secure?

Answer: The procedure for processing By-Mail Ballots goes like this: Once the ballot is received in the Tooele County Clerk’s Office, the bottom perforation is torn off the back flap of the envelope revealing the voter’s signature. The signature is compared to a number of signatures we have on file for each voter, including their voter registration form, party change forms, vote by mail application, etc. If the signature matches, your ballot goes on to the next step. If the signature doesn’t match, I will contact you either by phone, email (if I have your email address) or by regular mail to verify you did sign the ballot. I have some great stories I could tell about the answers I’ve received!

Your ballot (still sealed) next goes into the tray according to precinct waiting to be further processed. The week before election day, three election judges in my office process the By-Mail Ballots.  The envelopes are set in a pile, face down, and opened. The envelope is separated from the folded ballot. Once all of the ballots for the precinct are opened, the envelopes are set aside.

The ballots are next opened to see if they need to be reproduced due to coffee being spilled on the ballot, beautiful crayon murals, or other problems we look for to make sure the ballot will go through the ballot counting system. If they need to be reproduced, two judges work on it together. The new ballot is stapled to the reproduced ballot for counting along with the other ballots in that precinct.

Question: What if I accidentally sign my husband’s ballot envelope and he sign’s mine?

Answer: This will be picked up when the signature on the ballot doesn’t match the voter’s signature on file. It’s not too hard to figure out what happened, so that ballot is put aside until the other spouse’s ballot comes up with a signature that doesn’t match.

Question: I only vote in presidential elections. Isn’t that the most important election?

Answer: The presidential election is important; however, the offices in our state, county and school district affect the taxes we pay, the roads we drive on, our children’s education and our every day way of life.

If you have any other questions, please contact me.  I’d love to hear from you.

The clerk’s election website is at www.co.tooele.ut.us/elections.htm. Send email to mgillette@co.tooele.ut.us or call 435-843-3148.

Thanks for Voting!

 

Marilyn K. Gillette is the Tooele County Clerk

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