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Ranked choice voting, mail in ballots may lead to higher voter turnout in Utah cities

Posted at 4:19 PM, Oct 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-27 18:19:37-04

UTAH COUNTY, Utah — Thousands of voters have started filling out ballots they’ve never seen before in Utah. Twenty-three cities are offering ranked-choice voting on November 2.

Ranked-choice voting lets voters pick candidates in order of preference, instead of choosing just one.

“Naturally, whenever there is change, there is some apprehension, some questions, a level of nerves especially when it comes to voting. People take this seriously,” said Utah County Chief Deputy Clerk Auditor Taylor Williams.

Advocates say the idea is simpler, but less than a week before Election Day, the new method appears to confuse some voters.

Read - SLC to move to ranked choice voting

“We are getting some questions but frankly, Salt Lake County and Utah voters are really used to the vote by mail system so they’re used to reading the ballot. They know what to do and doing a great job,” said Salt Lake County Chief Deputy Clerk Lannie Chapman.

In both Utah and Salt Lake County, teams are in place to help navigate the new ballot.

Turnout in Utah and Salt Lake Counties is expected between 25 and 30 percent, higher, perhaps, because of the new ballots.

Read - Activists and some Utah lawmakers push for audit of 2020 election

“We hope ranked choice voting will continue to boost it and say hey, I don’t get to just choose one, I don’t think like I”m getting in the middle of this heated, contentious election, I am going to pick the candidate I like the most. Mail in ballots have had a huge impact also.,” Williams said.

One more thing, ballots must be postmarked by Monday to be counted. That’s different from last year. To be safe, election officials urge you to mail your ballot by Friday.