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LOGAN — In the place where democracy will be put into action this election cycle in Utah's Cache County, there is a problem: snakes.
After a new home was selected for the county's ballot processing center, it didn't take long to discover serpent and serpent skeletons.
"When people said that getting into government was full of snakes, I didn't know that they meant it literally," Cache County Clerk Jess Bradfield joked. "Nobody wants to go into an election center and have a snake crawling up your leg."
Bradfield said getting into a new space for county ballots is already late in the game even though the process has been in the works for approximately a year and a half.
"Where we previously processed ballots was really almost a closet," Bradfield said. The new location is at the Logan-Cache Airport, which the county hopes to retain for the foreseeable future, but also where there was a snake problem.
"We were like 'Oh there were snakes here. That's so random,' Chief Deputy Clerk Bryson Behm said. Then more turned up in mouse traps.
"We caught like six snakes, and they're pretty good in size. They're garter snakes, so nothing terrible, but you know, they're still snakes."
The building previously held equipment for a search and rescue team.
"We actually had one employee who was walking around, and a snake had just happened to look out from the wall, and look out from under the wall and say hello, and that freaked her out," Bradfield said.
"Yeah, we knew that there were a lot of snakes at that point when we started to see them coming out of the walls, coming out of the doors, any holes that were there."
An effort has been made to get the unwanted animals out of the facility's walls and to seal up entry points.
"And as I was showing them the gaps, we were looking at the ceiling and we noticed that there was actually a snake hanging from the ceiling."
We knew that there were a lot of snakes ... when we started to see them coming out of the walls, coming out of the doors, any holes that were there.
–Jess Bradfield, Cache County clerk
As those who fear snakes can imagine, some poll workers have said they will not work in the the facility until the snakes are gone. But with primaries in June, the county is down to the wire.
With a compressed schedule, an effort is underway to shore up the building against serpentine invaders and to relocate some of them to an area nearby.