SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The first batch of ballots in the Primary Election have been counted but political experts predict Utah won’t see a clear winner in some of the top races until July.
Election officials tell ABC4 News that more than 400,000 ballots have been turned in for the election so far, and Jason Perry, Director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah, says that alone shows big participation for a primary.
“That is already more than any ballot than we’ve have cast in either the 2018 or the 2016 election,” said Perry. “You start looking at the issues that Utahns care about, like COVID-19, the economy, the protests happening in the state, people are engaged like we have not seen in a very long time and it’s resulting in participation at the ballot box.”
Justin Lee, the State Director of Elections, says although the first wave of results give a pretty good idea as to which candidates are ahead, “many ballots are in drop boxes,” and there are still “many ballots in transit in the mail,” which means candidates will not be giving acceptance speeches Tuesday night.
County clerks now have three weeks rather than two, to finalize results, which will also lead to delays in election outcomes.
“The counties are going to be quarantining ballots for about 24 hours, just letting those ballot sit there to make sure there’s no virus (coronavirus), to make sure they’re safe before they process them,” said Lee. “On Wednesday we’ll find out how many outstanding ballots there are, so we’ll have a better picture of how many votes have been counted, percentages, and how many more votes they have to process.”
Stick with ABC4 News as election results continue to come in.