Utahns Want Vote-by-Mail Expanded

button1Nearly three-fourths of Utahns want the vote-by-mail ballot program expanded, a new UtahPolicy poll shows.

That’s a large vote of confidence (pun intended).

Especially considering that in several counties the Nov. 8 election didn’t go smoothly.

There were long lines – like in West Valley City – because the Salt Lake County Clerk’s Office failed to anticipate how many Utahns were NOT going to vote by mail, but show up on Election Day to cast ballots in person.

In fact, a West Valley legislator is introducing a bill (the 2017 Legislature started Monday) doing away with the vote-by-mail option and going back to the old show-up-in-person ballot day.

But that’s not what 71 percent of Utahns want, finds UPD’s pollster Dan Jones & Associates.

Jones asked: Should Utah expand its vote-by-mail for elections?

  • 71 percent said “definitely” or “probably.”
  • 23 percent said no.
  • And 6 percent didn’t know.

 

Most of Utah’s 29 counties opted for the vote-by-mail this past year. But others, like Utah County, didn’t offer that, and so most citizens went to the polls on Nov. 8.

Vote-by-mail is the trend across the country – that’s the only way to vote in Oregon — with a few locations testing out voting on the internet, where a voter is given a PIN number to log in and must swear only they are using the electronic ballot.

Interestingly enough, Jones finds that women want vote-by-mail more than men – perhaps because they are single moms trying to balance work and family and don’t have time to stand in long lines at the polling places.

Sixty-seven percent of men want to expand vote-by-mail, but 74 percent of women do, Jones found.

Utah Republicans are mostly conservatives, and resistant to change in many ways. No surprise on this topic, too:

  • Republicans favor expanding mail-in voting, 65-27 percent.
  • But Democrats want it expanded, 90-8 percent.
  • And political independents (don’t belong to any political party) want it expanded, 74-22 percent.

Many Republicans still question whether liberalizing (they don’t like that word) voting methods will lead to voter fraud.

But Utah has no history of voter fraud. Still, several years ago when the then-chairman of the Utah Republican Party testified before a legislative committee asking that lawmakers approve of a same-day voter registration bill, the majority Republicans, oddly enough, killed it.

Jones found that among Utahns who self-identified as “very conservative,” only 50 percent were in favor of expanding vote-by-mail, with 40 percent against and 9 percent undecided.

Jones polled 614 adults from Dec. 8-12. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.95 percent.