SALT LAKE CITY — With election officials expecting record voter turnout, Utah County clerks are looking to avoid long lines at in-person polling locations. One solution: Text messages notifying voters when it's their turn to pick up their ballot.
Utah County Clerk Amelia Powers said she got the idea from restaurants who utilize a similar system — notifying guests when their table is ready for seating.
"I was like, 'That's brilliant,'" Power said. "I need that for voting."
County officials will use the same app, called TablesReady, to notify voters when it's their turn to enter the polling location.
When voters arrive at one of the eight polling locations in Utah County, they will receive a QR code or phone number confirmation. Then, they'll be sent out to their car until it's their turn to vote.
"Another text message comes through that says, 'We're ready for you at the Utah County ballot location. Please proceed through the entrance door,'" Powers said.
Voters can then enter the in-person polling location, receive their paper ballot, fill it out and place it in a ballot drop box.
Powers hopes the system will prevent long lines at polling locations. She also hopes it alleviates concerns surrounding cold weather that could deter people from voting.
Increased mail-in voting, COVID-19, and a variety of state-by-state election formats contribute to a unique 2020 election. As a result, it is likely that many close House and Senate races, as well as the presidency, will not be called on Nov. 3. States may also shift in outcome in the days or weeks following the election — an expected change experts have warned about as results are returned. While human error happens, both mail-in and in-person voting have extremely low rates of fraud. The state of Utah has used vote-by-mail since 2012. It has safeguards in place to make sure every ballot it receives is legitimate.