Cache ending mail-in voting

There will be no voting by mail in Cache County in November, even though voting rates were higher among five communities who tried it during the primary election. The County Council reached that decision this week after hearing from the mayors of Trenton and Clarkston. “The council decided to go back to electronic voting in those five precincts where we had by-mail voting in the primary,” said County Clerk Jill Zollinger. “Two mayors appeared at the meeting and encouraged the council to go in that direction. They felt that their citizens would like to have a polling location on Election Day.” Zollinger said there are other counties in Utah with by-mail precincts. It is required the total of registered voters in the community number under 500. “We thought we would try it for the primary,” said Zollinger. “It actually was less costly and the turnout was higher, around a 30 percent turnout for those five communities.” Zollinger said absentee voting, which is done by mail, has always been an option for voters but by-mail voting during the primary election was a first. “When I looked back at the 2008 election there was only about a five percent turnout in those five precincts,” said Zollinger, “and I thought we could save some money and still give people an opportunity to vote by mailing a ballot to their home.” Zollinger said when the County Council determined there would be by-mail voting in those precincts a postcard was mailed to every registered voter. “They were notified they would be receiving a ballot for the primary in the mail. As ballots were returned to us, we compared signatures. We have signatures in our database that voters have signed in previous elections, or when they registered to vote. So we have their signature on file. We check the signature, because they do have to sign that they have voted this ballot, to make sure it is the same person. “When we open the envelope,” said Zollinger, “we take that ballot out and separate the ballot from the envelope so that there is that anonymity. “With election judges on hand, it’s the same as if we are doing absentee balloting.”

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