As the 2020 presidential election nears, many have voiced their concerns over the ballot by mail system. Carbon County Clerk/Auditor Seth Marsing recently took some time to outline the procedure and its safety.
Marsing stated that there is a big national push about mail-in voting. He believes that many would agree that the push especially becomes a concern when there are entire states or counties that, for years, have been conducting in-person voting and are going to switch for this election. Carbon County made the switch last year during the municipal elections and has conducted two elections this year by mail.
He explained that the first time that voting is conducted by mail, there is a process of cleaning up voter rolls to try to keep them as accurate as possible. Marsing explained that the county is notified by the state that there is someone that has passed. These people are then removed when notification is received.
The state of Utah has been a ballot by mail state for a number of years and Marsing wished to stress that the ballots are physically inspected when they are returned and every signature is examined. Every ballot has to have a signature and those that vote are required to be an active, registered voter. The signatures are compared with ones that are either on voter registrations or DMV records.
If it is felt that there is a significant doubt, it will then be set aside and the individual in question will be contacted first by calling, then sending a letter. It is stated that if suspicions arise, the individual is asked to come in and sign an affidavit.
As far as the reliability of the mail service, Marsing stated that they do their best to keep in close contact with the postal service and whoever the postmaster is for each office. He remarked that they speak with them beforehand and throughout the election to ensure that they are doing everything that they can to make sure that the ballots are received in a timely manner.
Marsing assured that individuals are able to go online to see if their ballot was counted as each vote has a voter ID. He stated that there were people that called the day before the election or two days before with concern that their ballot hadn’t shown as counted online yet.
“From what we’ve seen, for us, the post service has been very reliable,” said Marsing.
Those that are concerned about mailing their ballot back can rest assured as there are drop boxes in the Carbon County administration building in Price. A box will also be located outside the administration building and at city offices.
After the ballots have been mailed out to voters, they are still available for pickup in the clerk/auditor office. While Marsing highly recommends the ballot by mail, there will be in-person early voting as well as one location for in-person voting on election day.
L&A testing is slated to take place on Oct. 14 beginning at noon for all interested in participating. The early voting will take place Oct. 26-30. Monday through Thursday, the office will be opened from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, the office will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On election day, the offices are generally open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“They are still more than welcome to come and vote in-person,” Marsing stated.
This election will be the fifth that is conducted in Carbon County with the ballot by mail. Marsing remarked that he feels the previous four have gone very smoothly and there has been minimal complaints.
One of the major reasons that vote by mail is being promoted nationally is that is has been proven that there is a better voter turnout, he said. For the county, Marsing reported a higher turnout in every election since mail-in voting began.