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Election 2008: Early voting begins today in Utah

Published: Monday, July 6 2015 6:13 a.m. MDT

Election Day may be Nov. 4, but if you already know who to vote for, why not save yourself time by casting your vote now?
County clerks around the state are setting up satellite locations for early voting, which starts today and runs through Oct. 31.
Every county in Utah is offering at least one early voting location for residents who registered to vote before Oct. 6, but about half of the counties have multiple locations.
Pat Beckstead, Davis County elections manager, said early voting was initiated because it's too expensive for counties to purchase enough electronic voting machines for the presidential election, which typically has the highest voter turnout, every four years.
During elections in the intervening years, those extra machines aren't necessary.
So counties rent extra machines when they need them and offer early voting for the two weeks leading up to Election Day.
Utah County Clerk/Auditor Bryan Thompson said he's encouraging the community to come vote early, and if enough people show up, he'll arrange to get more voting machines out to the early voting locations.
If voting is anything like voter registrations, Thompson said, the polls are going to be swamped on Nov. 4.
Monday, the last day to register to vote for Election Day, Thompson's office received about 2,000 voter registrations. Davis County received at least 1,000. Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen's office offered a drive-through registration Monday and registered 4,500 voters. Clerks in other offices were swamped as well.
Thompson said because of a problem a couple of years ago that resulted in some Utah County voters waiting in line for two hours, he's adding more machines and staff on Nov. 4.
"Our models are showing an hour or less of waiting in line," he said.
Beckstead said she hopes to see up to 25 percent of Davis County voters at the polls in the next two weeks.
"That will eliminate that many people that have to go to the polls on Election Day," she said. "But some people feel like Election Day is Election Day and that's when you vote. We're there for them, too."
During the next two weeks, voters can vote at their convenience, Beckstead said. Identification may be required. Machines will be available in Davis County in six locations at varying hours to accommodate voters' schedules.
Salt Lake and Uintah counties are offering early voting at their respective county government buildings on Saturday. Salt Lake County also will host early voting at the county government center on Nov. 1.
• Early voting locations in Davis County include library branches in Bountiful, Centerville, Layton and Clearfield, at the Davis County Memorial Courthouse in Farmington and at the Syracuse Community Center.
• In Weber County, residents can vote at Weber County Library branches in Huntsville and Roy, at the Weber Center and the Weber Ice Sheet in Ogden, and at city offices in Marriott-Slaterville and in North Ogden.
• Salt Lake County is offering 16 voting locations: the Salt Lake County Government Center, Northwest Multipurpose Center and University of Utah's Olpin Union in Salt Lake City; city halls in Holladay, West Valley City, Taylorsville, Midvale, Murray, Sandy, Draper and Riverton; Kearns Improvement District; Magna Chamber of Commerce; West Jordan Fire Station No. 53, located at 7602 S. Jordan Landing Blvd.; Sandy Fire Station No. 35, at 8186 S. 1300 East; and Gale History Center, located at 10300 S. Beckstead Lane in South Jordan.
• In Utah County, the American Fork Library, Utah Valley University Sorenson Student Center, Utah County Administration Building, Spanish Fork Armory and Utah Community Credit Union, located at 1384 N. Commerce Drive in Saratoga Springs, are hosting early voting locations, as well.
A list of early voting locations statewide is available for download at elections.utah.gov.
If residents have been registered to vote in Utah but need to report an address change, they can still vote by provisional ballot at early voting locations or on Election Day.


E-mail: jdougherty@desnews.com

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