More election questions have come in from voters. Working with elections daily, I sometimes don’t stop to think of the questions voters may have, or the procedures they may not understand. So I will try to answer a few.
1. Will anyone know how I vote? No. When you vote on the machines, we get your signature in the Poll Book in the order you voted. However, voters do not stand in line behind the same machine to vote. There is always more than one machine to vote on. We do not keep track of which machine you voted on, and we try to have voters rotate to different machines so all of the votes aren’t on one machine.
At the end of the day, the number of signatures in the book must total the number of votes on the machines, but there is no way for anyone to know how you voted. The voter access card (VAC) that you are given to insert into the machine has no idea who you are. The only information on the card is the ballot for your precinct. Once you have voted, the card is blank and must be reprogrammed with a new ballot.
2. Are all of the By-Mail Ballots counted? Yes, unless they are received after the deadline (all ballots must be postmarked back to the county the day before the election, in this case it’s Nov. 3), or the affidavit on the back of the ballot isn’t signed or the signature doesn’t match.
We do everything we can to contact the voter when this occurs, but if we cannot get a response, then the ballot doesn’t count. In my seven years as Tooele County Clerk, there have been less than 10 ballots that weren’t counted in 28 elections. For the step-by-step process we use for By-Mail Ballots, please see the Clerk’s Corner in the Oct. 9 Tooele Transcript-Bulletin, or contact me and I will email it to you.
3. Do all Provisional Ballots count? First, what is a Provisional Ballot? If your current address is different than the one you have registered, you will be given a Provisional Ballot. The form you must fill out requires proof of who you are and where you live. If you have updated your driver license, all of this information will be on it. If not, you will need the license to prove identity, and a bill, check, something that shows your name and new address.
If you don’t have a driver license, you can find a list of valid voter identification forms on the clerk’s website at http://www.co.tooele.ut.us/PDF/Clerk/acceptableforms_clerk.pdf. If you do not have this information with you at the poll, you’ll be able to vote a Provisional Ballot, but it will not count unless you bring the required documentation into the clerk’s office within five days after the election date.
Every Provisional Ballot counts if you meet the above requirements, sign the form and have registered in the state of Utah at some point.
In every case the number of ballots that are voted, whether on the machine or by mail, must be accounted for. If the number of ballots that come in do not total the number of ballots that were given credit for voting, we find the difference and explain it. At the canvas I can tell the Tooele County Commission how many ballots, provisional and regular, weren’t counted and why.
Voter registration: If you are interested in early voting, the last day to register is Monday, Oct. 20. You must register online at www.vote.utah.gov or in person at the clerk’s office. If you aren’t interested in early voting, but want to vote on election day, you may register in person at the clerk’s office until Oct. 27 or online until Oct. 28.
For more information call 435-843-3148 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for voting!
Marilyn K. Gillette is the Tooele County Clerk