PROVO, Utah (ABC4) — Voting centers throughout Utah are now closed, but poll workers are still busy counting votes.

In Utah County, election officials said they expect 30 to 35 percent voter turnout, which is more than the last municipal election.

ABC4 got an inside look at the ballot processing center.

The new machinery in the ballot processing center was busy Thursday not just counting the votes but also making sure it is done safely.

Taylor Williams, the Utah County chief deputy clerk and auditor, said voter turnout should be five to ten percent more than last year because of the many highly contested mayoral races.

“More than 90 percent of votes in Utah County come from mail-in ballots and turnout is typically low,” said Williams.

“We actually expect slightly higher turnout about 30-35 % voter turnout and part of that is because we have mayors on the ballot this year,” said Williams. “A little more interest and people are more likely to get engaged in the process and they want to have input on who is going to lead their city.”

There are mayoral races in several cities including Lehi, Orem, and Provo; many of them are competitive races.

Arguably the most interesting race is between incumbent Michelle Kaufusi and Ken Dudley in Provo.

Dudley was shot while driving through a crowd of protestors in Provo at the end of July 2020.

Williams said there’s been a buzz about this election, but said the messaging is simple.

“Too often people forget about the government that affects their day to day life the most and that’s your city government,” said Williams.

There were five polling locations in Utah County during municipal elections in 2021 and in 2016, there were 200.

Williams said the mail-in-ballot has become the way to go.

He said even with ranked-choice voting people feel more comfortable filling it out at home and sending it in. 

“Utah leads the nation when it comes to voting,” said Williams. “We are at the forefront of innovation.”

Six cities are now participating in ranked-choice voting including Lehi, Vineyard, and Springville.

There are more than 175 people who assisted with the elections in Utah County.

Williams said many of the poll workers are intrigued by how the voting process works so they wanted to try their hand at it. 

“People are generally curious about the process,” said Williams, “What a better way to get on the inside than be on the inside working, opening up the ballots counting the signatures doing all that.