Ballot Processing Safeguards
Ballots received by the County Clerks are carefully accounted for and processed. A direct chain of custody is maintained throughout the process and ballots are never handled by any one individual.
Does my vote remain secret?
Ballot secrecy is a Utah Constitutional right. Ballots remain sealed in their envelope until elections office staff review the signature and remove all personally-identifiable information. After this process, the individual ballot cannot be traced back to the voter, thus protecting a voter’s right to a secret ballot.
I’m concerned the post office will mishandle or potentially manipulate my ballot.
Envelopes contain an intelligent scannable mail barcode that allows for tracking. Voters can sign up for informed delivery, which sends an email each morning with scanned images of their mail. Voters may return their ballot by mail or at a secure ballot dropbox. Voters can check the status of their ballot at any time by going to www.vote.utah.gov.
Could ballots be lost or fake ballots added to the results?
Ballots received in the elections office are logged in and assigned to batches. The ballots are accounted for and reconciled throughout the process to ensure that no ballots are removed or added at any time. A video of the process can be viewed here: https://bit.ly/utvbm
Can election workers interfere with the election by altering the markings on a ballot?
Ballot processing occurs in a public area under the care of at least two trained election workers that have sworn an oath.
Could someone vote another person’s ballot?
Ballots are addressed to a specific voter and contain an affidavit that, unless it is signed, the vote will not count. Signature training is required for each election worker and developed in conjunction with handwriting experts and law enforcement. The signature on each envelope is reviewed up to three times and matched against known signatures from the voter. Each voter record contains up to five signatures. If a signature is challenged (signature doesn’t match, unsigned, etc.), the voter will be sent notification and an affidavit for correction. The affidavit requires a driver’s license number or the last four digits of the social security number and a signature for the ballot to be counted. Before certifying the election, Clerks conduct a public audit of a random sample of one percent of all signatures.
Can voters have more than one ballot counted?
Every by-mail ballot Envelope is assigned a unique control number (barcode) that is associated with a voter. When a by-mail ballot Envelope is received, the scanner reads that barcode and matches it to the assigned voter to verify that they have not already voted.
County clerks must follow policies that require strong controls over ballot handling and processing. These policies include protecting a voter’s right to a secret ballot, ensuring that voters can cast only one ballot, and maintaining the integrity of the ballot throughout each step of the process (HB 313).
To make an additional suggestion, or if you have more election questions, contact your county clerk.
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