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Utah Officials: Don't Expect Complete Vote Counts on Election Night

Alcorn Imagery/Adobe Stock
County elections officials across Utah must wait to begin counting mail-in ballots until Election Day, but the final vote tally may not be available for a week or two.

While they expect voting to go smoothly on Tuesday, Utah elections officials don’t expect to see complete results on Election Night – and they're tempering public expectations.

Utah has a long history of mail-in ballots, but with a record number of people eligible to vote this year, it may take a few extra days to count them all and announce the winners. Derek Brenchley, deputy director of elections for the Utah Lieutenant Governor’s Office, said although there are many hotly-contested local, state and national races on the ballot, poll watchers and political operatives will just have to be patient.

"We plan on releasing preliminary election results at 8 p.m. on election night. Because we're a vote-by-mail state, we expect ballots to arrive at county clerk offices after Election Day. So, we don't expect election results to be finalized on election night," said Brenchley.

In order to be counted, mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Monday, November 2nd, but can be dropped off in person on Election Day. Utah law does not allow county elections offices to begin counting the votes until Election Day.

As of Thursday, more than 750-thousand of Utah’s one-point-six-million registered voters had completed early ballots. Brenchley said that puts the state on course for a record-breaking turnout.

"The day after the election, we'll get a better sense of how many ballots are outstanding, how many ballots are left to be counted. But ballots will ultimately be counted and processed before the counties canvass the election results, and that can happen between seven and 14 days after the election," said Brenchley.

In addition to the presidential election, voters will decide dozens of local, county and statewide offices, as well as the fate of two statewide initiatives and seven constitutional amendments. Voting information is online at Vote.Utah.gov. Results will be posted at ElectionResults.Utah.gov.