BRIGHAM CITY -- County commissioners will not intervene in the city's decision to conduct an election only by mail.
A Corinne woman appeared before the commission last week seeking support in her drive to end voting only by mail in Corinne. She had a petition with 202 signatures from people within the city voting district, asking the city council to overturn the decision to conduct this year's election by mail.
"You are coming here asking us to override a mayor, and I won't do it," said Commissioner Ryan Tingey.
DeAnna Hardy said the people have been robbed of their right to vote by secret ballot and voters were not informed that there would not be a polling booth this year.
In addition, Hardy says voting by mail opens up the possibility for voters to miss the opportunity to vote if they do not receive their ballot in the mail. Also, double ballots can throw off the votes or family members can either use someone else's ballot or coerce other household members to vote for a particular candidate.
Hardy told commissioners she went door to door and asked people if they had been informed that they must vote by mail this year. Then, she circulated a petition asking the council to reconsider the decision.
Tingey questioned Hardy about her tactics and asked her how many of those signatures came from registered voters, but she was unable to tell him.
Tingey said only 137 of the signatures collected were valid from the 328 registered voters in the district.
The Council of Governments recently discussed this issue as well. All 16 mayors in Box Elder County agreed that it is their desire to make voting safe, affordable and convenient to voters.
"Mail-in voting has an 85-90 percent participation rate," said Tingey. "That tells me the people's voice is being heard."
Mail-in votes increase voter turnout, the county has safeguards in place to prevent fraud and it lessens the taxpayer burden. Therefore, Tingey said, the Council of Governments will continue to support mail-in voting.
There are currently 14 districts in the county that can utilize mail-in voting, including several rural communities where voters would have to drive two to three hours to reach the nearest polling booth.
It would cost the county $200,000-$300,000 to obtain the equipment and pay the staff to offer each precinct a place to vote in person.
Tingey said it is up to each city to determine how to do the vote, and the county will stand behind whatever method the cities prefer.
Coincidentally, the Corinne City Council decided in a 3-2 vote to do away with the mail-in ballot this year and open a polling center.
"There were enough people that had a concern and if they have a concern, we are going to oblige them, and that's democracy," said Mayor Richard Nimori.