Utah Election Officials Reassure Voters Of Polling Integrity | KUER 90.1

Utah Election Officials Reassure Voters Of Polling Integrity

Oct 18, 2016

As Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump doubled-down on accusations that the elections would be rigged, Utah officials say that’s just not possible.

Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen is emphatic when asked if vote rigging or election fraud could take place this year.

“No,” she says. “Because we have so many people working on various aspects of the election.”

Swensen and her staff use a statewide database that prohibits voters from trying to cast more than one ballot.

“As soon as they go to a vote center, and are issued a ballot at a vote center, it will in real-time give that voter credit for voting," she says.

The same applies for vote-by-mail, which the majority of Utahns will use this year. For mail-in and absentee ballots, Swensen and her staff check every voter’s signature on their envelope against the signature on their voter registration card.  

About 200 poll workers will be on hand to assist at the 37 vote centers in the valley. Swensen says many of these trained volunteers are veterans of the process and come from a variety of backgrounds and party affiliations.  

“The election processes are decentralized throughout the United States,” she says. “There are 3,142 counties, and within those counties, like ours, you have literally hundreds and possibly thousands of workers processing ballots and working on elections. So it would take an unimaginable conspiracy to rig an election.”

Mark Thomas is the director of elections in the Lieutenant Governor’s office. He also stands by the integrity of the process.

“To have people question the election system and process is not new,” he says. “For a candidate to say, 'Hey, if I lose, it’s not me, it’s because of the system.’ That comes up every election, and I think for the most part, voters realize that and see through that.”

As for cyber attacks, he says Utah’s voting machines are secure and not connected to a network. They go through both pre-election testing and post-election auditing to ensure that they’re properly functioning.  

Thomas encourages voters to check the status of their ballot by going to vote.utah.gov.