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Bill goes to governor seeking to shorten election lines

Published March 2, 2017 1:19 pm

Waiting time • SB116 would require that county clerks make sure people at polling stations don't wait more than 30 minutes.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The House gave final passage Wednesday to a bill designed to help prevent repeating election lines that stretched up to four hours long in Salt Lake County last November.

The House voted 67-0 to pass SB116, and sent it to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature or veto. It previously passed the Senate 27-0.

It mandates that county clerks come up with plans, to be reviewed by the lieutenant governor's office, on how to keep election lines under 30 minutes long.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, had originally called for at least one Election Day polling place for every 10,000 residents in a county, but amended it to offer flexibility. He pushed the bill after he saw lines in his city stretch up to four hours long — and many frustrated voters give up and go home.

Problems resulted because county clerks realized too late that not as many people were choosing to vote by mail as hoped, and instead wanted to vote in person on Election Day. Clerks had drastically cut back the number of polling places, and were overwhelmed on Election Day.

Rep. Craig Hall, R-West Valley City, told the House he hopes that the lesson has been learned that many people simply prefer voting in person, and adequate preparation for that will occur in the future.






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