June 14, 2020

Here’s what you need to know in order to vote this year

By Nina Yu

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, changes have been made to this year’s elections to manage the spread of the virus. Here are the necessary steps to take so that your vote counts.

With the precautions that the state of Utah and Salt Lake County are setting in place, Utahns will be able to safely vote in the upcoming June 30 primary and November 3 general elections.

According to the Utah Legislature HB3006, “this bill makes temporary changes to the Election Code and related provisions, as they relate to the 2020 regular primary election only, to conduct the election in a manner that protects the public health and safety in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The law also eliminates the option for in-person, early voting during this time period.

Unlike some states that are still offering in-person polling, Utah has opted for mail-in ballots or drive-up stations. Salt Lake County is one of seven of the 29 counties that is offering the drive-up option to their voters. In addition to providing locations where voters can drop off their ballots, the drive-up stations will also be giving out ballot packet replacements for individuals who did not get their ballot in the mail.

Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen, said, “We will have a poll worker go out to the car wearing a mask and shield, look up their information on the poll pad, make sure they’re registered to vote and then they will go back and have a ballot packet prepared pertaining to the individual’s precinct.” These individuals will then have to drop off their packet at one of the 20 drop boxes located throughout Salt Lake County. The drop-offs are only an election day option and have to be done by 8 p.m.

In order to be able to vote on June 30, you have to be registered. Registration can be done online (present a driver’s license or Utah ID) or a paper form can be filled out and mailed in. The deadline to register is June 19 by 5 p.m. If you need to register or change your party affiliation, this is the last day to do so as well.

If you have registered to vote, mail-in ballots should be arriving to your household anywhere between June 8 to June 23. If a ballot has not arrived after June 23, you can contact the clerk’s office where they will confirm your address and a replacement ballot will be sent.

For party specifics, to vote for Republican candidates (such as gubernatorial races), you must be affiliate with the Republican party when registering to vote. Otherwise, you are not allowed to vote for a Republican candidate in the primary election.

To vote in the Democratic primary election, you have to either be affiliated with the Democratic party or be an unaffiliated voter. It is not possible to receive a Democratic ballot if you are affiliated with another party, (even though the Democratic party is an “open” party).

ITALICS: For more information about voting in the upcoming elections in Utah, including registration forms in Spanish, visit the state elections website at www.vote.utah.gov or the Salt Lake County Clerk’s website at https://slco.org/clerk/elections, or call the SLCO election office at (385) 468-7400.