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Politics & Government

Amid An Influx Of Public Records Requests, Utah County Clerk Hosts An Election Transparency Night

Utah County Election Education Night Voting Machine IM.jpg
Ivana Martinez
/
KUER
A member of the Utah county clerks office demonstrates the ballot machine to a boy who casted his vote for his favorite otter pop.

Around 35 people gathered at the Utah County Health and Justice Building in Provo Wednesday night to learn more about the state’s election process.

Josh Daniels, the Utah County clerk/auditor, said that after last year's presidential election, there were a lot of questions about voting integrity.

We are getting an unprecedented amount of public interest in the results of the 2020 election, in the topic of election security,” Daniels said.

He said part of that has to do with political rhetoric, most notably former President Donald Trump, who alleged widespread voter fraud took place. However, no evidence was found proving that was true.

Utah County Election Education Night IM.jpg
Ivana Martinez
Republican Utah County Clerk/Auditor Josh Daniels talks to residents about security measures in place for mail-in ballots and voting.

“Election officials are under more scrutiny than ever before,” Daniels said. “They're being asked questions they've never been asked before. There's public records requests that are at an all-time high. So [we’re] just trying to be proactive and host an event like [this] to get out ahead of it and share what we do and answer questions.”

Daniels spoke about topics like security measures in place and how they track the ballots from the mail to their office.

Sydney Ward,18, is a Salem resident who went to the event to learn more about the civic engagement process. She said the municipal primary election in August was her first time voting and she wanted to learn more about how the system worked.

“I think everyone is reasonably suspicious when you put a paper in the mail and then it gets counted for an election,” Ward said, “but the discussion tonight was illustrative of all the work and expertise that goes into the process, which helped me.”

Since 2012, Utah has been one of the few Republican states to conduct the majority of its elections using a vote-by-mail system. And, the method has received bipartisan support in the past.

Despite some of the skepticism from county residents, mail-in ballots have made up the largest percentage of voter turnout by far.

In the 2020 general election, almost 97% of Utah County voters participated by mail, according to data from the Utah County Clerk’s Office.

During August’s election, almost every person who voted did so using mail in ballots as well.

Rep. Steve Christiansen, R-West Jordan, also attended the event.

He said he wanted to hear about the concerns from voters because he’s planning to introduce election reform legislation during this upcoming General Session.

“All I am attempting to do is to introduce changes that will help people to feel much more comfortable, that our elections are being conducted in a trustworthy way,” Christiansen said.

Daniels said the county plans on hosting more events in the future to answer questions from residents and bring more transparency to the process.

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