Vote by Tuesday

Normally this would be in the politics category - but I want everyone to see it. Let’s refrain from tacking our political crap onto this as it is meant to be informational and hopefully clear up some common misconceptions.

First off, if you are in Utah, vote by mail is default. It is very safe and secure. You can track your ballot the entire way by going here:

https://votesearch.utah.gov/voter-search/search/search-by-voter/track-mail-ballot

For example - I mailed my ballot on Saturday - I checked yesterday and it noted a ballot had been mailed to me but didn’t say mine had been received, yet. It noted it could take a few days for that to happen even after it had been delivered by the postal service. Today though it shows that the clerk’s office has received my ballot and that it won’t be counted until Election Day (more on that below). After that I can check and it will tell me if it has been counted.

So, despite some claims, vote by mail, particularly in Utah which really should be the gold standard for both voting security and voting access, is extremely safe and secure.

A few things to note - because it is already being said by various politicians and talking heads in prep for disputes over elections:

Voting has NEVER been completed on election night. Depending on the size of the voting turnout and the size of a municipality, voting can take a number of days. Voting is usually certified weeks after Election Day and this was before the ability to vote by mail. Absentee ballots, provisional ballots, disputed ballots all take time to process.

Pretty much the only way your vote won’t get counted if there is a problem is if you don’t respond. If you live in Salt Lake County (and I’m sure this is true in all of Utah) the clerk’s office takes every effort to validate or correct your ballot if there are problems - they don’t just toss them out. So if you forget to sign your ballot, or something isn’t clear they WILL contact you and sort it out.

Media projections are not final vote tallies. What throws people off is that often enough ballots will be counted, or a margin is large enough that they’ll give projections as to who the winner will be, and the media reports it as such. Basically it is statistics, but once a certain percentage is in, if the margin is big enough they may call who has won before every vote is counted. However, it isn’t official until it is certified.

So if someone is claiming that voting is typically completed election night don’t believe them.

Most states have laws prohibiting the counting of early submitted ballots before Election Day. In my opinion this is a very good thing - you don’t want early tallies leaking that may influence the outcome one way or another (ie. Candidate so-and-so is way out ahead, don’t bother voting…). Utah is a state that doesn’t allow early counting - and because of that it means that vote counting will take time.

Voting counts and projected results can be sporadic. In the last election one party was more likely to vote in person and another was more likely to vote by mail. Those get counted at different times and may show a swing. This is less relevant in Utah - but counties may report in Utah before others - so it may show one candidate with a big lead if the smaller counties in Utah have reported - but Salt Lake County may take longer and swing things in a different direction. So vote swings are a total normal part of the process.

There are a TON of things to make elections secure - including the ability for citizens and various parties to have monitors to watch the election officials. There are a lot of rules around how this works - but the odds of an election official tampering with results are extremely low.

I could go on and on about this topic as I’ve done a ton of reading and research on it. I’ll just say this, turn off the news and stop listening to claims of either VOTER SUPPRESSION or VOTER FRAUD. It is extremely hard and very inefficient to do either and it is not nearly as widespread or prevalent as either side claims. This is done to drive a wedge in voters and it works. There are ways to swing votes that are much easier to do than at the ballot box (like gerrymandering for example). But nearly ALL claims of either fraud or suppression are either way overstated or outright false. This doesn’t mean it never happens, it is just rare and on a scale unlikely to remotely change the outcome of an election. Put another way - nobody is stuffing ballots in drop boxes at a scale that matters, and putting a drop box in a secure location doesn’t stop people from voting either at a scale that matters.

Get out and vote - have confidence in the process and its security. Lots of elections are going to come down to small margins and so your vote now counts more than ever. Not only that, but the outcome of this election will have a direct impact on the 2024 general election - this one is more than just a midterm election. Make a difference.

At least one thing I’ll be grateful for next Wednesday is being able to watch TV without an avalanche of campaign ads.

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I’m actually in one of the ads but I won’t take this personally :grinning:. And no I won’t tell you which ad. @Rocker, thanks for the excellent initial post. Everything you said was accurate and comforting.

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I heard they were handing out free beer for turned in ballots. :wink::wink:

Ok, not really.

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I heard you poor the beer on whichever party members you didnt vote for…:crazy_face:

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How poor do you need to be to not pour the beer on people? Could it just be done in sprinkles? :joy::joy::joy:

I recieved a political text tonight from a random number that a Davis County’candidate Trevor Lee favors euthanizing the elderly that are a drain on our resources. It included a link to his post. Crazy !:smiley:

I read that $9 billion dollars will be spent on political advertisements this US election. $9 billion could solve so many problems.

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I propose a $10B study to figure out what we can do with that $9B.

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I completely agree with your information and sentiment.

I’ll add a bit of detail about the ballot processing however, that slightly contradicts one point you made:

I received my ballot by mail (Salt Lake County), completed it that day, and dropped off at my local post office. I had signed up for ballottrax, which indicates online that my ballot was received on 10/29/2022. I signed up for text message updates, and so I got a text message from ballottrax on 10/29/2022, that indicated my ballot was “counted”.

I called the office and they indicated from their records that my voted had been counted. The workflow is that once your ballot has been received and approved, it is counted by a machine, and the physical ballot stored in a vault for manual recounting if necessary.

You are correct that the data about the actual running counts are not available to anyone under any circumstances, by law, but the ballots are in fact counted as soon as they are approved.

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Question on that - does it say it has been counted or processed? Because those are different things.

Or can you go and check on the link I provided up top and tell me what it says? My understanding is that Utah doesn’t count until Election Day.

The text message says it’s been counted, and I received it the same day (last Saturday) that the website lists the ballot status as:

Your ballot has been accepted! Your voter packet has been Accepted by the county election office for counting.

When I called the county office, I spoke with an individual who seemed very knowledgably and heard a 5 minute description of the ballot processing workflow. He ended by summarizing to answer my original question with: “you’re ballot has been processed by the machine that counts actual votes from ballots, but no one has access to the data before election day”.

I went to the state site, and it does not list any details for my ballot besides it having been sent, and suggests that if I want to get more info to contact:

Questions about your ballot? Contact your county clerk:
Phone: (385)468-7400
Email: vote@slco.org

That is the number I called when I got the description of the workflow. The link I’m using to track my ballot is: BallotTrax

Either the guy I spoke with didn’t know what he was talking about, or we’re dealing with a matter of semantics - I’d guess the later, but who knows. From an efficiency perspective, it would not make sense to wait until election day to start scanning all those ballots if you could avoid it. But I also recognize that if they’ve been scanned and accumulated by a machine, no matter how it’s designed, there is a way for someone to get at the data, which I think what is concerning you.

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I live in California, and every registered voter receives a mail-in ballot three weeks before the election. I already voted and my votes have already been counted.

Our ballot this year was huge. Not only do we have elections for Governor and Senator along with the usual House member, but some quirk in our voting meant I had to vote up or down on at least 50 judicial candidates. It was so annoying. There was no way I was going to spend 10 minutes looking up each judge.

Otherwise, I helped continue the tradition of keeping California deep deep blue.

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Voted and mailed it back the same day I received the ballot.

Not to get too political, but does anyone else feel like they wished we had better choices on the ballot? I know mine had some pretty sketchy people as choices.

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I may be getting into semantics, but the image you shared says it has been accepted by the election office for counting. Not that it has been counted, which would comply with my understanding of Utah law. There is actually a significant testing process that must be ran before each time the machines count - so I imagine it would be hard to do that daily/weekly/until Election Day?

I dunno - more importantly my point on the count - in Utah no COUNT will be announced or evaluated until Election Day. And the reason I note that is this is true in most states. It also explains why there is a lag sometimes in the reporting of official counts, and also so election officials can’t unwittingly or wittingly influence election results.

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Voting for judges is a strange thing in my opinion. We have no idea on their performance - I actually think that lawyers or others in the legal profession should be the ones who do the voting on them. “Shall so-and-so be retained…” Never heard of them and hope I never do.

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From what I’ve read, if you’ve never heard of them that is a good thing. They should be retained because they haven’t made any outlandish rulings.

The only time I voted not to retain a judge was a long time ago. Can’t remember the judge, but he made the news by refusing to let a woman move out of state with her daughter (her ex was fighting it). That in and of itself was no big deal, but the judge felt compelled to say “you can’t move out of state because your daughter would not be raised properly outside of Utah”.

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No, you’re not alone. This coming from the battleground state of NC. I really wish we had better candidates. I even voted in the primary to at least attempt to get better (IMO) candidates.

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I think the problem with this is you only hear about the very, very extremes of bad. An attorney I know has told me there are a number of judges who shouldn’t be there for a variety of reasons (from being appointed despite not being qualified to simply aging out), in his opinion.

Unfortunately, a lot of state legislatures have made it so they cannot begin counting until all of the poll sites have closed. That’s what caused a lot of the late night and overnight batch drops of large number of votes that set the conspirators off. It’s stupid, but when have state legislatures ever passed on doing something stupid?

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And one of the candidates played that up beforehand to sow that discord when that happened.

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