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Weber County gearing up for election season

Posted at 9:42 PM, Nov 03, 2023

WEBER COUNTY, Utah — Weber County has made some recent upgrades in the hopes of making the upcoming elections faster, more transparent and safer.

According to Weber County Clerk Auditor Ricky Hatch, the ballot processing space was moved to a new area in the basement of the Weber Center as part of the upgrades.

“Anything that happens to your ballot happens here in this room,” explained Hatch, Weber County Clerk Auditor. “Much more efficient processing flow, we have enhanced security and better transparency for election observers. We’re just excited to see how this works,” said Hatch.

Voters would enter the vote center where they would be able to cast their votes. Next to this space, behind a secure door, is the processing area for the ballots.

“The first thing that we do is remove this tab, off of the envelope. What that does is it exposes the voter’s signature, and it takes their personally identifiable information off,” demonstrated Hatch.

Then the signature is checked and verified. The envelope moves to a machine to open it up and extract the ballot.

“You have two tubes that have suction cups on the edges and they come and attach to the envelope and they suck it open," said Hatch. "The worker extracts the ballot out of the envelope and sets it in the tray right here.”

The ballot is examined, flattened and then put through the scanner to count each vote.

“It takes the ballot, you put it into the tray up here, it comes through and it takes a digital image of the front and back of the ballot, brings it through the curve here and then deposits it in one of the three trays," he said.

If the machine needs a human to verify a mark, a team of poll workers checks the ballot. Then, votes are tabulated.

Ballots have already started going out in the mail, and are trickling back in.

“A little teeny bump, just a few hundred ballots that have come in just the first day or two. We’ll see that slow down a bit for the next couple of weeks, and then it’ll ramp back up. We love to have people vote early. It helps with the processing and then you don’t have to worry about it during Thanksgiving when you’re trying to thaw your turkey,” said Hatch.

“We’re proud of what we have, but we know we’re not perfect. We’re always looking for ways to improve, so please come in and watch and challenge and ask us questions and let’s have a good, transparent, successful election," he said.

Election Day is on November 21. You can either drop your ballot off in the mail, postmarked by the day before the election, in a secure drop box, or vote in person early or on Election Day.