OGDEN — If you haven’t mailed your ballot or left it at a designated drop box, time is running out.
And remember — there will be no in-person voting site next Tuesday, which was to have been the primary Election Day but is now just the deadline to turn in mail-in-ballots. Instead, per changes state lawmakers approved in April to curb the spread of COVID-19, Weber County Election Office reps will man a location at the Weber County Fairgrounds on Tuesday, where they’ll provide ballots to those who didn’t get them.
The ballot this primary isn’t a long one, though voters have some big decisions to make.
Weber County Democrats have just one race to vote on, for the party nomination in the 1st District U.S. House race.
Republicans across the county will weigh in on the Utah gubernatorial contest, the 1st District U.S. House race, the race for Utah attorney general and the Weber County recorder/surveyor contest. County GOPers who live in the boundaries of Utah Senate District 19 and District 4 of the Utah State Board of Education will also vote in the party primaries for those posts.
Winners in the respective party primaries will face off in the general election on Nov. 3.
Completed primary ballots are already coming in. Around 21,000 of the 73,000 sent out to voters around Weber County had been returned as of Friday, according to Ryan Cowley, who heads the county elections office. That’s a turnout so far of around 29%.
But you still have time. They must be postmarked by Tuesday if they’re mailed or be dropped off by 8 p.m. on Tuesday at one of several drop boxes around the county.
The Election Day operation at the fairgrounds goes from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m, but it won’t be a traditional polling place. Instead, it will be a no-contact drive-through operation where voters will be able to get ballots if they didn’t get them via mail. From there, those getting ballots will have to fill them out on their own and leave them at one of the drop boxes around the county, at most of the municipal buildings and public libraries in the county. Location details are on the county elections website, weberelections.com.
Lawmakers changed the rules for this election, putting the emphasis on mail-in balloting versus in-person voting to minimize person-to-person contact and thus prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Some around the country have expressed concern about the possibility of fraud with such a heavy focus on mail-in balloting. But it’s been around for years in Utah and Cowley maintains there are plenty of safeguards.
“I would say it’s not an issue, but it’s being talked about as if it were an issue,” he said.
Results will come out later than usual on Tuesday, after 10 p.m., per the rule changes state lawmakers implemented. And those will only be partial returns. Cowley said mail-in ballots received over the weekend and through Tuesday won’t be officially tallied until next Thursday.
In the 1st District U.S. House race, Democrats will pick between Darren Parry and Jamie Cheek. GOPers will pick between Katie Witt, Bob Stevenson, Blake Moore and Kerry Gibson.
GOPers will pick between Thomas Wright, Spencer Cox, Jon Huntsman and Greg Hughes in the gubernatorial race and Sean Reyes and David Leavitt in the Utah attorney general contest. At the county level, voters will pick between Leann Kilts and James Couts for Weber County recorder/surveyor.
Those living within Utah Senate District 19 pick between John Johnson and Johnny Ferry. Those living in District 4 of the state board of eduction pick between Brent Strate and K’Leena Furniss.