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While some Utahns fret over security, it’s not the only reason some choose to vote in person

Primary Election 2022, Sandy Senior Center polling place, signs, June 28, 2022
Emily Means
Signs directing voters to the Sandy Senior Center polling place on primary election day, June 28, 2022.

As one man left the Sandy Senior Center, a primary election day polling place, he said he didn’t trust the mail-in system. He thought it was too easy to cheat — and he’s not the only one.

Questions about election security have damaged some voters’ trust in Utah’s primarily vote-by-mail system. Even as some political figures try to draw attention to it, there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Utah or nationwide.

“If you have party leadership telling people things are wrong with elections, that’s what [constituents] think is going on with elections,” said Josh McCrain, an assistant professor in political science at the University of Utah.

He explained that many people listen to the most visible people in politics. So if someone identifies as a Republican, they will listen to the leader of the Republican Party.

Primary Election 2022, Sandy Senior Center polling place, Baily Luck, June 28, 2022
Emily Means
Baily Luck after voting in person at Sandy Senior Center. on primary election day, June 28, 2022. She said this is the first election she has taken the time to research before voting.

However, other voters at the Sandy Senior Center had different reasons for voting in person.

Baily Luck wanted time to research candidates. She said the beginning of June was too early to decide, especially with the U.S. Supreme Court coming out with new decisions. And for her, election security isn’t a concern because Utah is majority Republican.

“We’re in a state where we don’t really have to worry about election security,” Luck said, “It’s other states where it’s more battlegrounds.”

Even though Luck isn’t concerned about voter security, she said she registered as a Republican because of worries her vote wouldn’t mean anything since Utah always votes for Republicans.

Another Republican voter at the center, Adam Mumma, said he just prefers voting in person.

“I’m concerned with having a free and fair election, but I don’t consider that there is a problem with Utah’s election system,” Mumma said.

Primary Election 2022, Sandy Senior Center polling place, Adam Mumma, June 28, 2022
Emily Means
Adam Mumma voted in person at Sandy Senior Center on primary election day, June 28, 2022. He said he votes in person every year.

Still, there were also others like Anne Hansen, who voted in person simply because she forgot to mail in her ballot.

According to Damon Cann, a political science professor at Utah State University, election security does not impact whether or not people vote.

“The real consequence of concerns about election security is that people begin to doubt the legitimacy of government,” Cann said.

He said a loss of government legitimacy is very worrisome, but as long as people stay engaged and keep voting, the system still has merit.

If people are still concerned about election fraud, Cann said they can ask their county clerk for a tour of the election counting process, where they would see safety features that prevent ballots from being copied and systems that verify every signature. Understanding security measures can help raise trust and confidence in the election process.

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