BY REBECCA PALMER
BOUNTIFUL — Bountiful officials were surprised Tuesday night to learn that almost 1,000 votes from the primary municipal elections weren’t counted in the unofficial results released just after the polls closed.
The official vote tallies, provided to the cities that day, bumped up Bountiful’s voter participation rate from 9 percent to 11 percent. The change also put City Council candidate Meagan Becker ahead of her competition Suzanne Galloway, in contrast to the unofficial results, but neither was nominated to move forward to the general election in November.
The high number of votes counted after the election came from three sources: absentee ballots, provisional ballots and ballots cast at voting centers to which the respective voters were not assigned.
The voting center ballots were made possible due to a change in state law that lets cities decide that voters can cast ballots at any polling station. However, the change means that county election officials had to ensure no voters cast more than one ballot. None of the 210 voters with such ballots did in Bountiful, said Brian McKenzie, county elections director.
“It’s a fantastic thing,” he said. “(Being turned away) used to be one of the biggest complaints for our voters.”
Bountiful officials voted to accept the results, as did officials from Farmington, Kaysville and several other cities. Not all cities have yet done so, McKenzie said, so he couldn’t comment on whether official results made a difference in any of the other municipal races.