Sherrie Swensen, Salt Lake County Clerk, votes at the Salt Lake County Government Center in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019.
SALT LAKE CITY — As four counties work to process voters’ ballots on primary election night, county clerks are reporting short wait times and a low voter turnout.
Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen hoped and expected a larger voter turnout due to the use of mail-in ballots.
“We’ve got some pretty hotly contested races, so I was hoping for a better turnout,” she said.
At midafternoon, Swensen said Salt Lake County has a ballot return rate of 25%, while Salt Lake City’s ballot return rate is nearly at 34%, nearly 30,000 ballots. The capital city has a hotly contested mayoral race.
She said the first batch of election results will be posted shortly after 8 p.m.
“It’s gone very smoothly, but I just want better turnout,” Swensen said, adding that she hoped for a 50% turnout.
Swensen anticipates the final results will be posted at 10 p.m., depending on how long poll workers take to shut down voting centers and get their paperwork completed.
Utah County Clerk Amelia Powers believes this year’s elections is a “stark difference” compared to “how it ran in the past.” The county had been under fire during last year’s elections with long wait times at polls.
However, she expected to receive 10 trays of mail-in ballots from the post office Tuesday, but instead received 2½ trays, each filled with about 350 ballots.
“We have people running to the post office right now,” she said, adding that she received a call from the post office earlier to pick up four additional trays.
She said the first results will be posted at 8 p.m. She anticipates final results will be posted by 11:30 p.m. or possibly sooner.
She said ballot drop boxes, specifically the drive-up drop boxes, have been popular among voters.
“People are really loving those and utilizing them,” she said.
As of 4 p.m., she said her staff has processed 28,000 ballots.
Powers said she’s noticed more people filling out their mail-in ballots and dropping them off at drop boxes, than voters arriving at polling locations. She said hasn’t noticed lines at polling locations.
“I expect it to go fairly smoothly, everything to this point has been functioning as it’s been designed,” she said.
At 4 p.m., Weber County Clerk’s Office said so far its received 25% to 30% of mail-in ballots, and expect to release the night’s first election results at approximately 8:45 p.m.
Weber County Clerk reported no setbacks and that all was “flowing smoothly.”
Davis County Clerk’s Office said they had processed 23% of mail-in ballots and reported no lines at their polling stations.
They’ll announce the night’s first results near 8 p.m.
Contributing: Christina Giardinelli
Source:: Deseret News – Utah News