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Utah elections could shift to exclusively mail-in by 2020

State elections officials say 90% of Utah voters submitted their ballots by mail in the most recent election.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah could conduct all its elections by mail by the year 2020.

Justin Lee, the Director of Elections at the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, told a legislative committee on Capitol Hill Tuesday that 90% of Utahns cast their vote by mail.

Weber County Clerk Ricky Hatch says a recent study from Weber State University shows people prefer this system, and it increases voter turnout.

“79 percent of voters felt that receiving the vote by mail made them a more informed voter. It also leads to more voters. In 2014, Utah was 44th in the country in voter turnout. In 2018, Utah was 23rd,” Hatch said.

Carbon and Emery counties are only remaining Utah counties that still hold traditional elections, but Lee said that will probably change by 2020.

Lee and Hatch also urged lawmakers to update regulations to match the Voters Choose system, which also lets you turn in your ballot at a designated drop box or vote at a voting center on election day.

But critics say there are not enough protections against ballot harvesting or voter fraud, meaning political operatives could stuff the ballot box or someone could easily throw away the vote of someone they do not like.