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Mailed ballots encourage early voting


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SALT LAKE CITY — Ballots make voting quick and easy, and Salt Lake County will begin mailing them out to registered voters starting Monday.

Salt Lake County is also testing their ballot counting machines to make sure they are ready for the big day. Election day may not be until November 6th, but voters can start casting ballots by mail as soon as next week.

"I'm thinking about it just to weigh my options a little longer to see what's on the ballot and to see who is running and kind of research what's going on with that," said Jeni West, a Salt Lake City voter.

The ballots also allow individuals to vote that won't be in the U.S. during the election.

"If we didn't have it, then I wouldn't be able to vote this year because I'm going to be in England," said Adam Pratt from South Jordan.

And the numbers demonstrate the effectiveness of mailed-in ballots. In Salt Lake County alone, more than 100,000 voters, almost a quarter of the projected 2012 total, will vote by mail. That's double the number from 2008, and could lead to record turnout.

#poll

"I'm expecting that we could exceed any record I've seen in my 21 years," said Salt Lake County Clerk, Sherrie Swensen.

Mitt Romney's presence on the ballot may be driving up the voting numbers for Utahns by both mail and registration this year.

"We're seeing a lot of people register, yes," Swensen said.

Voting by mail also is cheaper for governments to administer. And for much of the voting public, it makes things easier when there's no rush.

Early voting, whether by mail or in person, accounted for about 40 percent of the ballots cast in Utah in 2008, the last presidential election year. That's expected to rise to about half this year.

So, election day has now become election month.

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John Daley

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