Early voting under way in Salt Lake County, statewide Oct. 23

Published: Monday, Oct. 8 2012 5:24 p.m. MDT

Andrea Priest holds her son Anthony as she casts her ballot during early voting at the Salt Lake County Government Center in Salt Lake City, Monday, Oct. 8, 2012. At back, Andrea's husband Marshall also votes while holding their daughter Isabelle.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Street signs, whether posted outside a business or held up by someone dancing and wearing a costume, often work to bring in more customers.

Such signs apparently work for early voting as well.

Millcreek resident Justin Miller was driving down State Street during his lunch break Monday and noticed a sign touting early voting at the Salt Lake County Clerk’s Office. So he figured, “Why not?”

“It’s so convenient,” he said. “Figured I’d cast my vote today.”

Miller said he began voting early about six years ago and has since made it a habit to do so in-person or by mail.

Miller was one of many who visited the clerk’s office on the first day of what is technically called “in-office absentee” voting.

Utah law allows all eligible Salt Lake County residents to vote at the county clerk’s office beginning four weeks prior to Election Day. This year, the first day for early voting was Oct. 8.

General election early voting for all counties will commence on Oct. 23 throughout the state, including at 20 additional sites throughout Salt Lake County, eight sites in Davis County, five locations in Utah County and six in Weber County. Early voting will conclude on Nov. 2 and details for are available on most county clerk websites.

In order to be eligible to participate in early voting, voters must be registered to vote at least 30 days prior to the election and provide valid voter identification.

Currently, there are approximately 430,000 registered voters in Salt Lake County, said Salt Lake County Clerk Sherry Swensen, with more people registering daily.

“We’re hoping that at least 10 percent will take advantage of early voting,” she said. “We’re encouraging people to come in early … because we’re concerned about the expected large turnout.”

She said there could be long waits in line come Election Day on Nov. 6.

It was just that notion that prompted Chuck Tripp of West Valley City to cast his ballot a month before the election — for the very first time.

“I didn’t want to wind up waiting in some line,” he explained. “I got the ballot ahead of time, so I knew how I wanted to vote and decided to go ahead and do it.”

Tripp was also one of those who “happened to drive by” and noticed the sign advertising the early voting opportunity.

“It’s a good idea,” he said, adding that he plans to vote early in elections from now on.

Mother and daughter Susan and Hannah Prospero were among the first people to visit the clerk’s office Monday. They recently moved into a new voting district and decided to vote on the same day they registered under their new address.

“I’ve only done it once before,” Susan Prospero said. “It was easy and it’s (a useful) option.”

For Hannah, 21, it was a chance to cast her first election ballot.

“It was a little more confusing than I thought it would be since I didn’t know all the candidates, but it was fun,” she said. “(Next time) I would also vote early, but I would do my homework first.”

E-mail: jlee@desnews.com Twitter: JasenLee1

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