With ballots still being tallied from Tuesday’s primary elections in Utah, late-arriving mail-in ballots could swing more competitive races, including a statehouse primary between four Salt Lake City Democrats.
Along with a high-profile Republican Senate primary, mail-in ballots have likely boosted turnout this year, state elections director Justin Lee said. Ballots arriving in the mail before election day also means elections officials can tally them and post results soon after polls close.
“It also strings out results a little bit because voters can cast a ballot” by dropping their mail-in ballot at a drop box on election day,” Lee said. “That takes some time for the counties to process. So, it takes a few more days to work through the vote by mail ballots.”
That means some close races, like a four-way Democratic primary to fill Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck’s Salt Lake City House seat, will be nail-biters for a few more days. Out of four Democratic candidates on the ballot in that race, early results show less than 100 votes separating the top two candidates, Jen Dailey-Provost and Igor Limansky.
State lawmakers have talked about runoff elections and ranked-choice voting. But it’s not a reality yet, even if a candidate in a three-way race doesn’t break 50 percent..
“Whoever gets the most votes, regardless of how many votes that is, wins the race,” Lee said.
County clerks will update results into next week as they receive late-arriving mail-in ballots.