Primary races expected to draw thousands of Utahns to the polls — sort of

Primary races expected to draw thousands of Utahns to the polls — sort of

(Jeffrey D. Allred, KSL)

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah voters have one last chance Tuesday to narrow the list of candidates for such high-profile races as governor, attorney general and two congressional districts.

But without voting booths and results being posted later than normal, it promises to be a unique primary day across the Beehive State.

In addition to the party races between candidates for the statewide and federal offices, voters will set the November ballot in many legislative races as well as for the State School Board and some county offices.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are several temporary changes in place to all but eliminate in-person voting. If you don’t have a ballot that should have come in the mail earlier this month if you have a primary to vote in, or if you’re an unaffiliated voter who now wants to participate in partisan races, there aren’t going to be any polling places open.

You’ll only be able to get assistance today if you live in one of seven counties — Salt Lake, Utah, Davis, Weber, Tooele, Box Elder and Iron — that opted to offer drive-up services in select locations. There, voters must remain in their cars as election workers attempt to sort out their ballot issues.

Voters using the drive-up service in Salt Lake County should be aware of the county’s new order mandating face masks. But Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen said no one would be turned away for not wearing a mask.

Even with drive-up service, it’s too late to fix some voting problems, since the deadline has passed to switch political parties or register to vote.

Once voters at a drive-up location gets their ballots, they’re going to be directed to fill them out someplace else before depositing them in a drop box, to keep what may be long lines of cars moving. Salt Lake County is setting up a dozen drive-up locations>, but some counties will have only a single place for voters to go.

Drop boxes for ballots are available throughout the state until 8 p.m., and those mailing ballots must make sure they are postmarked Tuesday.

As for winners, officials are delaying the release of initial results from the normal 8 p.m. when polls close until 10 p.m.

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