Mail-in or touchscreen: Summit County voters have options
October 25, 2016
Voters in Summit County likely received their ballots in the mail over the past week and are perusing their options as they ready to send them back.
It is the first time the County Courthouse is running a general election through the mail, and the turnout is expected to be strong with the hotly contested presidential campaign at the top of the ticket.
But if someone does not want to vote through the mail based on concerns about privacy, fear of the envelope not arriving or other worries, the Summit County Clerk's Office will offer an alternate method.
Kent Jones, the county clerk and the county's top election official, said there will be voting centers set up in four locations on Election Day where someone may cast a ballot. They are the Marsac Building, the Richins Building, the municipal offices in Kamas and the municipal offices in Coalville. There will be touchscreen machines available at the voting centers. Jones cautioned lines could be longer than usual if lots of people choose not to cast ballots through the mail since there will be fewer voting centers available on Election Day than there were in the past.
If someone insists on voting on a touchscreen machine rather than through the mail, they must bring a government-issued photo identification and they will be asked if they are surrendering the ballot they received through the mail. Should someone want to vote on a touchscreen machine but not surrender the ballot they received, they will be allowed to vote, but the vote will not be verified until it is determined that the physical ballot mailed to the person was not cast as well.
"If we knew we mailed them a ballot, where's that ballot," Jones said about the importance of inquiring whether a physical ballot will be surrendered.
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Jones said there are procedures in place to ensure the physical ballots are kept secret. When his office receives a ballot through the mail, a barcode on the outside of the envelope will be scanned to record that a ballot was received from the voter. A tab will then be torn to verify that the voter signed the ballot, he said.
Jones said the tab with the signature will then be removed from the envelope, eliminating all evidence of the name attached to the ballot. The ballot will then be opened and scanned.
For more information about the voting options, contact the Clerk's Office at 615-3204.