SALT LAKE CITY — A House committee favorably recommended two bills Wednesday that would help ensure that all Utah voter ballots are counted and not turned away for technicalities within the state’s voting system.
HB220 provides that as long as a ballot is clearly post-stamped as having been received by a post office before Election Day, then it is timely and therefore eligible to be counted.
Chavez-Houck said the clarification needed to be added because current law calls for a postmark, which is stamped at the Salt Lake City Post Office. So, she said, at times when ballots are mailed from more rural post offices, it may take at least a day to receive the postmark from the Salt Lake City Post Office.
But HB220 would clarify that if a post office, not just the Salt Lake City Post Office, marks the ballot as received before Election Day, then it is eligible to be counted, Chavez-Houck said.
Also approved was HB219, which would essentially correct an oversight from a 2014 bill that created a three-year pilot program that allows Utahns to register to vote on Election Day in counties participating in the project. HB220 would expand the pilot project to include early voting.
Chavez-Houck said HB219 would not only ensure Utahns who vote early aren't turned away because they forgot to register, but it will also enrich the pilot project’s data by allowing more ballots to be counted.
The bills were unanimously passed out of the House Government Operations Committee.
“I think this is a great way to make sure that every vote is counted,” said Rep. Keith Grover, R-Provo.