FARMINGTON - Starting with June's Primary Election, Davis County registered voters can vote from the comfort of their home.
That's because Vote by Mail will be offered to all registered voters, of which there are nearly 150,000 “active” voters, said Brian McKenzie, county election manager.
“We’re hoping and anticipating the majority of voters will choose to return their ballot by mail,” he said. The county will provide business reply, postage-paid envelopes.
After they’ve voted, voters can go to vote.utah.gov to access their personal information and verify when their ballot is returned.
Davis is joining 10 other counties in using the vote-by-mail option. It is by far the most populous, McKenzie said.
“It seems to be a trend of moving toward vote-by-mail. We’re seeing large increases in the numbers of people voting by mail compared to previous elections,” he said.
For example, in the 2012 general election, 16,000 to 18,000 by-mail absentee ballots were sent to voters requesting them.
Voter participation is likely to increase with this option, based in part on what other counties have seen, McKenzie said.
“The turnout out seems higher, and voters have a whole month to receive their ballot, look it over, do research on candidates and the issues, and make their decisions,” he said.
A big reason the county is participating is to generate information for a state survey, McKenzie said.
It’s not known exactly how much savings this option should provide, but one savings will come through the use of far fewer voting machines and poll workers.
“We usually recruit about 700 poll workers. For this election, we’ll have 70 or so,” McKenzie said.
On top of that, far less than the 800-plus voting machines owned by the county will have to be pressed into service.
“We do know our voting machines will need to be replaced in 10 to 15 years,” McKenzie said. At this point, it’s not known whether a newer version will be touch screen, as now, or use scanning or some other method.
Seven vote centers will be open on Election Day for those wishing to cast their ballot in the traditional way. Those are at the South Branch Library in Bountiful, Centerville Branch Library, Farmington Community Center, Kaysville City Hall, Layton High School, North Branch Library in Clearfield and Syracuse Community Center.
Drop boxes will also be available at each of the 15 city halls and the County Clerks Office during regular business hours until the Friday prior to Election Day.
“I see this as a very positive thing,” said Clerk/Auditor Steve Rawlings. “I think it will significantly increase voter turnout and it will decrease the cost per voter.”
Information about the program was mailed to voters throughout the county.