The June 30 primary election will be conducted entirely by mail under a new state law. Seven counties will give their residents the option to pick up a ballot in their car on election day if they don’t get one in the mail.
The law, which applies only to this election, gave counties the option to provide drive-up locations and is intended to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Salt Lake County will have 10 to 11 drive-up spots, according to County Clerk Sherrie Swensen. Voters will pull up, tell a poll worker their name, and drive away with a mail in ballot they can drop off later that day.
“I know there's individuals out there who would have done everything they needed to do and for whatever reason, don't receive their ballot,” Swensen said. “So I decided that it wouldn't be fair to the voters for them not to have an option to get a ballot.”
But in rural Beaver County, which won’t have drive-thru ballot pick up, Chief Deputy Clerk Tracy McMullin said it’s much easier to make sure everyone gets the chance to vote. In the March presidential primary, just 1% of voters — 21 people — cast a ballot in person.
“I have a lot of interaction with my voters personally,” McMullin said. “We just have tons of opportunity to get that fixed prior to Election Day.”
The new law also requires counties to make accomodations for people with disabilities. The voter registration deadline is June 19, and there will be no same-day registration, provisional ballots, or early voting, even in counties with drive-up locations.
Due to a court settlement, San Juan County elections are exempt from the new law and will operate as usual.
Here is the full list of counties offering drive-up locations:
- Salt Lake
- Box Elder
Sonja Hutson covers politics for KUER. Follow her on Twitter @SonjaHutson