This article has been updated to clarify that voters may deposit their ballots in a drop box at the Clerk/Auditor’s Office during normal business hours, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., as well as from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3.
The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated what promises to be an historic election in Grand County, the State of Utah and the nation.
“It’s been busy, but I wouldn’t call it tumultuous,” said Quinn Hall, the Clerk/Auditor of Grand County. Hall was appointed to his position just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
The State of Utah is conducting a primarily mail-in election. All active registered voters in Utah will receive their ballots in the mail between Oct. 13 and Oct. 27, and these can be mailed to the Grand County Clerk/Auditor’s Office. All mailed ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 2.
Voters may also leave their ballots in a drop box at the Clerk/Auditor’s Office within the Grand County building (125 E. Center Street, Moab) during normal business hours, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., and between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3.
“The good thing for Utah is that voting by mail is not anything new. Prior to this year, more than 90% of people were voting by mail,” said Justin Lee, the Utah Director of Elections. “We’re really encouraging people to vote by mail because it’s the safest way to keep people socially distanced.”
Another option for voters is early in-person voting. Voting machines will be available Oct. 28 through Nov. 2 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Clerk/Auditor’s Office, as well as on Election Day for those who prefer to vote in-person. COVID-19 safety precautions will be in place. Since the mask mandate is still in effect county-wide, everyone voting in-person will be expected to wear a face-covering and follow physical distancing guidelines. If you are in line by 8 p.m. on Election Day, you will be permitted to vote.
Valid identification — either an ID bearing the name and photograph of the voter or two forms of ID that detail the voter’s name and residence — is required for all Utah voters. Valid forms of identification include a valid Utah driver’s license, a government-issued ID, a concealed weapon permit, a United States passport or a tribal ID card.
There are seven Utah constitutional amendments, three county propositions and one Moab-only proposition on the ballot. The Moab-specific question, Proposition 8, will allow voters to decide whether the city should implement a sales tax increase of 0.1% to fund arts, recreation and other cultural amenities.
“The great thing about voting by mail is you have time to figure out how you want to vote on all the issues on your ballot,” Lee continued.
“There are several constitutional amendments and local issues to vote on, and that’s a lot for anybody to take in at one time. Taking the time to become informed is a great idea, and voting by mail really helps people do that.”
Hall also reported that for those planning to mail their ballots in, the USPS has clarified that ballots mailed from Grand County will be stopped at the Moab Post Office instead of going through the Provo Source Facility.
“We’ve gotten a lot of skepticism about the Postal Service,” Hall said. Again, voters who choose not to mail their ballots in will be able to drop them off at the Clerk’s Office.
“As a county and at the clerk’s office, we are encouraging people to get their registration done ahead of time and to be ready for the election as soon as the ballots are mailed out,” Hall continued. “We still benefit from being a small county and having a very centralized voting process. It’s a big busy day for us, but it’s certainly not impossible, or insurmountable by any means.”
To see the specific language of the issues on the ballot, each candidate up for election and your registration status, visit www.vote.utah.gov
Pandemic, vote by mail complicate general election