It's Primary Election Day in Utah. Here's What to Expect. | KUER 90.1

It's Primary Election Day in Utah. Here's What to Expect.

Jun 30, 2020

Primary Election Day in Utah will look different this year compared to years past due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

In order to limit the spread of COVID-19, there will be no in-person polling locations, and most voters can only cast their ballots through the mail. 

San Juan County, however, will allow in-person voting due to a 2018 court settlement, and every county in the state is required to provide accommodations for people with disabilities.

Voters need to have their mail-in ballots into a county drop box by 8 p.m., or into a mailbox before its last pickup. 

“We always tell people to be really careful with a postmark deadline,” said Justin Lee, the state’s elections director. “We really advise people to go into the Post Office if it's available and actually have them stamp it in front of them, so they can make sure they get that postmark on there.” 

Seven counties are providing drive-up locations to hand out mail-in ballots to voters who haven’t already received them. 

The pandemic is also affecting when results will be released. 

The first results will come out around 10 p.m. Tuesday, two hours later than normal. Lee said, after discussions with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, county clerks are letting ballots sit for 24 hours before they are processed to prevent COVID-19 from potentially being transmitted through them. 

“Both candidates and voters are going to need to be patient with results,” he said. “In close races, we really may not know who the winner is for several days or even weeks after the election as those ballots are processed and counted.”

The deadline for certifying results of the election has been extended to three weeks from election day, so it could take up to July 21 to call some races.

Sonja Hutson covers politics for KUER. Follow her on Twitter @SonjaHutson