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PM News Brief: 1,960 COVID-19 Cases, Voting Security & Fire Season Extended

A photo of several 'I Voted' stickers.
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Utah election officials say there are safeguards in place to make sure people are not able to vote twice by casting a mail in ballot and then in-person. This story and more in this evening's news brief.

Friday evening, October 23, 2020

State

Politicos Call For An End To Sign Stealing

Political yard signs have been going missing. It’s a problem that’s been reported as far south as St. George and as far north as Logan during the run-up to the 2020 election. The issue has prompted responses from politicians across the state, with some calling for action and others advocating a subtler response. Read the full story. — David Fuchs

How State Officials Ensure Utahns Don’t Vote Twice

Utah election officials say there are safeguards in place to make sure people are not able to vote twice by casting a mail in ballot and then in-person. If you’ve been mailed a ballot and show up to a polling place, workers will give you a provisional one, according to state elections director Justin Lee. After Election Day, county clerks will make sure you didn’t double dip before counting your provisional ballot. Voters can also surrender their mail-in ballots at a polling location and fill out a regular, non-provisional one. — Sonja Hutson

Utah Hits A New COVID-19 Case Record… One Day After Setting One

Utah set another COVID-19 case record Friday after setting a previous high Thursday. Health officials reported 1,960 new cases, surpassing yesterday’s 1,543. Gov. Gary Herbert said in a statement he is “deeply concerned” that COVID-19 exhaustion is at an all time high as cases are too. He warned that Utah’s healthcare system is on the brink of not being able to provide quality care to patients who need it and urged people to not let their guard down. Twenty-one counties are currently in the high transmission level and masks are required there. — Ross Terrell

Utah’s Official Fire Season Extended To The End Of November

Utah’s fire season has been extended to Nov. 30 and restrictions on open burning will remain in place. The season usually ends Oct. 31 but a proclamation from the state announcing the extension said “wildfire danger is unseasonably high” because of how hot and dry it’s been this year. There is currently a red flag warning in place for parts of central and southern Utah as well as the Uinta Mountains due to low humidity and gusty winds. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Northern Utah

Salt Lake City Raises New Flag

As of Friday morning a new flag flies above Salt Lake City. In May, the city invited the public to submit designs to replace its old one. A committee decided on a blue and white banner with a Sego Lily — the state’s official flower — on it. It’s a combination of ideas from two Salt Lake City teenagers. City officials said the blue could represent the Great Salt Lake or the sky, and the white portrays the salt of the lake or snow in the mountains. Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said in a statement she believes the flag will unite city residents. — Emily Means

Parents Threaten Lawsuit Over Salt Lake City School District Online Learning

A group of Salt Lake City School District parents have hired an attorney and sent a letter to elected and education officials, claiming their right to public education has been violated. Salt Lake schools have been online since the start of the school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will remain that way into November. As a result, the parents allege students are receiving an inferior education and said the district’s decision doesn’t “reasonably address the problem.” The letter, sent to the governor and state superintendent among other people, threatens a lawsuit if no action is taken by the district. Since the start of the 2020 school year, nearly 4,000 students in Utah have been diagnosed with COVID-19. — Ross Terrell

Region

Tribal Nation In Wyoming Looks To Cash In On Legalized Sports Betting

Three states in our region have legalized sports betting since a 2018 Supreme Court decision cleared the way. And tribal nations in Colorado, Montana and New Mexico have also taken advantage of the ruling. But the Northern Arapaho Tribe is looking to gain a foothold in the industry without approval from the state of Wyoming, where sports betting remains illegal. — Savannah Maher, Mountain West News Bureau