Live election updates: Utah breaks its turnout record – Salt Lake Tribune

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12:15 p.m.: A ballot in one hand, a smartphone in the other

Ogden • Lana Athalye sat in the bed of her bright blue Toyota Tacoma on Tuesday morning, parked in the Weber County Fairgrounds, filling out her ballot.

It wasn’t like the 24-year-old’s past voting experiences, but she said she appreciated the precautions that county officials were taking to keep large groups from gathering at polling stations, increasing the risk that she or others could be exposed to the coronavirus.

“It’s gone pretty smoothly, considering COVID,” she said, her ballot in one hand, and her smartphone, which she was using to look up candidates, in the other.

Polling locations across the state have found creative ways to still give people the chance to vote in-person, while trying to minimize large crowds gathering.

In Davis County, that meant drive-thru voting. In Weber County, voters went into a large county fairground building, got their ballots, then returned to their cars to fill it out. They could drop off their ballots on their drive out, or at any of the drop box locations scattered throughout the county.

Poll workers were separated from voters with plexiglass, and everyone had to wear a face mask to get inside the building. The process was quick for most early morning voters Tuesday, and there were no lines. First-time voters filling out provisional ballots were greeted with claps and cheers from poll workers.

County Clerk Ricky Hatch said Tuesday that mail-in ballots in Weber County had already surpassed the number of ballots cast in the 2016 election. As of 11 a.m., the county had processed about 1,200 in-person voters, and Hatch expected that number to increase — especially at around 5 p.m. when many voters got off work and were able to come cast their ballots.

“We planned for the worst,” he said. “It’s way lower than what we planned for.”

Hatch said that many of the voters casting their ballots in person on Tuesday did so just because they preferred the process of voting in person, that it was something they’d always done.

For Athalye, she had to vote in person because she had just moved and didn’t get her ballot in time. She said she was particularly interested in this year’s presidential election, and didn’t agree with the way the current presidential administration has handled the pandemic. She’s worried about health care, and whether her rights to marry as a gay woman could be threatened.

She hopes that there will be a larger influx of young voters this year.

“People my age haven’t cared until recently,” she said.

— Jessica Miller

11:30 a.m.: Utah breaks turnout record

The Lieutenant Governor’s Office tweeted at 11:30 a.m. that Utah had just officially exceeded the turnout four years ago of 1,152,369.

That is based on the number of by-mail ballots processed by county clerks at that point.

Monday was the deadline to have by-mail ballots postmarked, and they will be counted as long as they arrive before counties certify final results in one or two weeks (depending on the county).

People may still vote on Tuesday by dropping ballots at county-operated drop boxes, or by going to in-person Election Day voting centers. At those voting centers, people may also obtain replacement ballots or even register to vote. Locations are listed on vote.utah.gov. Polls close at 8 p.m.

— Lee Davidson

11:15 a.m.: These counties have already surpassed their 2016 counts

While 2020′s early turnout now is 99% percent of Utah’s 2016 presidential turnout, some counties have already exceeded their totals from four years ago. Those counties are Daggett, Davis, Garfield, Juab, Morgan, Tooele, Uintah, Utah, Wasatch, and Washington.

Salt Lake County’s vote is exceedingly close to its 2016 total: 99.96% to be exact.

All of Utah’s counties have seen more Republicans vote than Democrats so far, per the Tribune’s analysis of voting records released early Tuesday morning. That’s not a surprise, given the Republicans’ massive registration advantage in every Utah county.

But there are roughly 240 of Utah’s 3,057 voting precincts that have seen more Democrats than Republicans voting so far. Those precincts are mostly situated in Salt Lake City, but other blue pockets include Park City, downtown Ogden, some Moab precincts, and parts of San Juan County.

— Andy Larsen

11 a.m.: Go to vote and get a salmon lunch

In 2020, everything is a little bit unusual — even the free hot dogs that companies give away on Election Day.

A seafood brand from Norway will give away its sustainable salmon dogs at the Salt Lake County Government Center, 2001 S. State.

This twist on the all-American favorite is available from noon to 6 p.m. — or whenever supplies run out.

You don’t even have to vote to get the meal, which also comes with a bottle of water.

Salt Lake is one of six cities where the Kvaroy Arctic brand will set up its pop-up hot dog stands on Tuesday. Miami, Boston, Washington DC, Los Angeles and Oakland are the others. https://www.kvaroyarctic.com/salmon

The family-own company, said in a news release, that it chose polling locations with historically long lines or limited food facilities.

— Kathy Stephenson

10:45 a.m.: Utah sure to surpass 2016 turnout

That amounts to 99% of all votes cast four years ago in the 2016 presidential election then, when 1,131,340 votes were cast.

Monday was the deadline to have by-mail ballots postmarked, and they will be counted as long as they arrive before counties certify final results in one or two weeks (depending on the county).

People may still vote on Tuesday by dropping ballots at county-operated drop boxes, or by going to in-person Election Day voting centers. At those voting centers, people may also obtain replacement ballots or even register to vote. Locations are listed on vote.utah.gov. Polls close at 8 p.m.

— Lee Davidson

9:40 a.m.: City Creek braces for violence

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Plywood covers windows at Nordstrom in Salt Lake City on election day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.

Nordstroms at City Creek Mall has wood over its windows, with the store worried about potential violence in the streets, maybe not tonight but in the days to come.

“Our teams are monitoring the situation in order to be prepared for any activities that might take place across the U.S. on Nov. 3 and potentially in the days following,” a Nordstrom spokesperson said in a statement to FOX 13. We’re taking steps to help keep our customers and employees safe and our stores secure.”

— Matt Canham

9 a.m.: First voter in West Valley City got there at 5:30 a.m., but the lines are not long

Four years ago, Hunter Library in West Valley City saw some of Utah’s longest lines for voting on Election Day. State Sen. Daniel Thatcher complained he stood in line for two hours then and said many of his constituents reported four-hour lines.

No such problems were reported at the library early Tuesday as workers were geared up this year for potentially big crowds.

They had social distancing lines set up with stickers on the sidewalks for about a city block, but said they were needed only when polls opened at 7 a.m. — and several dozen voters stretched out for about 100 yards.

“One voter was already here when we arrived at 5:30 a.m. to start setting up,” said poll worker Stephen Cable.

He reported only short lines since then. “We’ve always had at least one machine available since then as people arrived.”

He added, “We’ve never had so many workers here, and so many machines. The process is a lot faster this year.” He said the site has 14 poll workers and 25 voting machines. As of 8:30, about 150 people had voted there with a constant stream of people arriving.

Hunter Library is one of 59 in-person voting centers in Salt Lake County, where people may obtain replacement ballots for the ones sent in the mail or even register to vote. They may also quickly drop off ballots that were mailed earlier. Four years ago, Salt Lake County had only 37 voting centers on Election Day.

Sites for election centers statewide and for county-operated ballot drop boxes may be found online at vote.utah.gov. Polls (and drop boxes) are open until 8 p.m. It is now too late to postmark or return ballots by mail.

— Lee Davidson

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