It’s nearly time for citizens to cast their votes in the 2012 election. Early voting begins Oct. 23 and Election Day is Nov.6. To be able to vote in Summit County, residents must be at least 18 years old, be a U.S. citizen and live in Summit County.
If the resident is a convicted felon, it is noted on their voter registration and they will not be allowed to vote.
"But everybody who meets the criteria will be in the voting database and will be able to vote," County Clerk Kent Jones said.
Those who have moved into the county from another county within the state, but have not registered with their new address, can cast a provisional ballot, which is used when there are questions about a voter’s eligibility.
"When somebody shows up to vote that is not on our database, the ballot is held until we can verify his or her information. Then, if they are qualified, their ballot will be used at the canvass but not on Election Day," Jones said.
The official canvass is when all the ballots cast are tallied and reported.
Citizens planning on casting provisional ballots need to show proof of residency, such as a utility bill, either when they cast their ballot or within one or two days.
If the move is from outside Utah and they have not registered with their Summit County address prior to the deadline for voter registration, their vote will not be counted in this election but they will be registered for the next.
All citizens need to bring photo IDs with them when they vote. And, as with provisional voting, if their photo ID shows an address outside the county, they need to also bring proof of residency when they vote.
There are several accepted options for photo IDs, such as a driver’s license, U.S. passport or military ID, but the ID has to be state or U.S. Government issued. A student card, for example, will not be accepted.
Citizens registering by mail or online need to register to vote by Oct. 9. Between Oct. 9 and 22, they can bring their voter registration in person to the clerk’s office on the main floor of the Summit County Courthouse at 60 Main Street in Coalville.
Summitcounty.org/clerk has a link to the online voter registration and the printable voter registration form. Photo ID and a signature are required to register.
In the last few years, Utah has started putting signatures on driver’s licenses. Citizens who have their signature on their IDs can register through the online system, but if they do not, when they get to the end of the online form, it will ask them to print the form out and mail it in with a signature.
When registering, citizens can choose a political party but it is optional. They can instead choose non-affiliated.
"In a primary election, the parties choose to either open or close the ballot to non-affiliated members," Jones said. "So in a primary election, party registration does matter whether you can vote. But in a general election you choose the individual and not a party. So you can choose whoever you want on the ballot."
On Election Day, voters must go to their precinct’s polling location.
If questions arise during the ballot casting, there will be a poll manager and workers on site to answer questions.
"If someone asks for help, they can give instructions as to how to cast the vote, but they can not talk about names on the ballot or any issues," Jones said.
If a mistake is made as a citizen proceeds through the ballot, they can check and uncheck options, as well as go back to previous pages to make changes.
"Even when you get to the end and it prints it out, you can still go back and make corrections. But once you cast it, it’s done," Jones said.
Those who cannot vote on Election Day, such as overseas military personnel or missionaries, can request absentee ballots with a paper request, address and signature, which can be mailed to the clerk’s office at PO Box 128 in Coalville. Then the ballot will be mailed to their location, wherever they are.
"Anyone can cast an absentee ballot if they will not be there," Jones said.
Absentee ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 5. If it’s sent in on Election Day, it will not be opened.
Another option for those who will not be able to vote on Election Day is to vote early.
Early voting begins two weeks prior to Election Day — weekdays from Oct. 23 through Nov. 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the County Courthouse in Coalville, the Marsac Building in Park City, the Richins Building at Kimball Junction and Kamas City Hall.
"You can go to any location. It doesn’t matter where you live as long as you are a registered voter," Jones said. "It’s pretty popular and we’ve seen a lot of people vote early rather than do an absentee vote."
Jones said that in the 2008 general election, nearly half the cast votes were done before Election Day, either through absentee or early voting.
"Hopefully people take advantage of that and we’ll get a good turnout on early voting," Jones said.
Polling locations have not changed in recent years, but for questions about voting locations, to check registration status or look up a sample ballot, citizens can go to Summitcounty.org/clerk .
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