In 2016, the majority of counties in Utah held vote by mail elections – with much higher participation than before. Provo chose not to that year for two main reasons:
- The county had not yet committed to vote by mail and there was a concern about having it be “on again / off again” if the county was not going to use it for their elections.
- The cost was significantly higher.
Counties that did choose vote by mail found that the higher turnout made the cost “per vote” lower. This year the county decided to conduct elections it administers only by mail. So it will not be providing an option to use electronic voting machines as in prior years. That leaves Provo with three options, with the following estimated costs:
- Vote by mail – contract with Utah County $170,000
- Vote by mail – conducted by Provo City $182,960
- Optical scan at polls – conducted by Provo City $180,346
Unlike in 2016, there is no financial disadvantage to switching to vote by mail this year. Additionally, since the county seems committed to moving in that direction, it would likely become the consistent voting method going forward. With vote by mail, there would still be an option to vote in person at a central location like the Rec. Center.
Some have raised concerns about ballot security or the possibility of a resident voting multiple times with vote by mail. This Tuesday in Work Meeting there will be a discussion explaining how the vote by mail process is designed to address those concerns. The Council vote on whether to move to vote by mail or stick with voting at the polls will be held in the public meeting Tuesday night.
The Council would like your input on how you feel about moving to vote by mail. To send your feedback to the whole Council, you can register your opinion and comment here in Open City Hall.