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Cache County Clerk: Mail-In Ballots Increase Voting Numbers

Forty percent of eligible voters in Utah participated during the recent mid-term elections. Official numbers released Tuesday showed that the number is one of the lowest on record. To reach more voters, some counties switched to all mail-in voting. Duchesne County, switching to vote-by-mail to serve rural areas, beat the state average with 51 percent participation in the election. Cache County, also making the move to mail-in voting, experienced similar success. Voter participation grew in the last midterm, said Jill Zollinger, the Cache County Clerk.

“The percentage that we ended up with was 46 percent. For a midterm, it is higher,” she said.

According to Zollinger, vote-by-mail contributed to the improved numbers. The new system had an impact despite the absence of many tight races, she said.

“I think they did. I think, in our county, we didn’t have any high-profile races,” Zollinger said. “We had our attorney’s race and we had a race in [legislative district] five. We had some school board races that were contested but, for the most part, it was kind of a low-key election year.”

While the new method raised some concerns about mail-in voting, steps were taken to address issues surrounding it, Zollinger said. She says that the response of Cache County residents has been positive and that new voting methods always attract initial concerns.

“For the most part, we heard a lot of good, positive remarks. [We had] people coming in a telling us that they like the by-mail,” Zollinger said. “We had those that said that they had concerns with it as well. Overall, I think we had more that liked it than did not.”

This election year was the first in Cache County to feature all mail-in ballots.