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There may be a little less uncertainty surrounding election winners under a bill that passed the House on Monday and would allow election clerks to update results with absentee ballots as they are counted after Election Day.

Recently, the winner of the Salt Lake City mayoral race was in limbo for nearly two weeks as thousands of ballots were counted but the tallies could not, under state law, be reported to the public until the official canvass of the results.

The same was true of several races in the 2014 election, including a handful of legislative races and U.S. Rep. Mia Love's win over Democrat Doug Owens, which had uncertain outcomes until the totals of all the absentee ballots were announced.

"We have numerous colleagues in this room that just last election were unsure for a long period of time whether they'd actually been elected," said Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Cottonwood Heights, the sponsor of House Bill 21. "This bill simply allows the clerk to disclose on a daily basis what the current vote tallies are."

There is a provision in the bill that would allow a clerk to withhold the results if there were so few absentee ballots that disclosing the total might reveal how a specific voter voted.

The measure passed the House with one no vote — from Rep. Francis Gibson, R-Mapleton — and it heads to the Senate for consideration.

Robert Gehrke