State to promote online voter registration in September

Published: Saturday, Aug. 21 2010 1:07 a.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — In June, Utah became the third state in the nation to allow online voter registration.

Leading up to the November midterm election, the state will begin promoting its website, where residents can sign up to participate in that basic right.

Legislators got a look at the site during the Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Interim Committee meeting Wednesday.

Mark Thomas, office administrator for Lt. Gov. Greg Bell, demonstrated the registration process, which takes mere minutes to complete.

The Legislature passed SB25, allowing for the creation of a voter registration website, in 2009. June marked the beginning of a two-month "soft rollout," Thomas said.

"It's convenient for voters," he said, adding that the state expects savings from the website. "The cost savings will be huge."

Before the website became available, voters were required to fill out a form and return it to their county clerk.

The voter registration website, available at elections.utah.gov, requests a driver's license number to proceed.

If that information isn't available, the website allows for the registration form to be printed and submitted to a county clerk.

If the registration proceeds online, the next page allows the prospective voter to verify the name and address, as well as registering for a political party.

Once the information is submitted, newly registered voters can post a status update to Facebook or Twitter to urge friends to register to vote.

Thomas said 10 percent of the traffic to the site has come from Facebook.

"Once again, we're leading the nation," said Thomas, adding that he just returned from a conference where he demonstrated the site for his counterparts in other states.

"They were impressed," he said.

Valid photo identification is required on Election Day or for early voting.

e-mail: jdougherty@desnews.com Twitter: dnewspolitics

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