SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – Some significant changes are coming to Utah election law as a result of this year’s legislative session.
From increasing access, to protecting your information, state lawmakers took steps to make sure your vote is counted.
“The legislature, you know, really did a good job making things easier for voters, making things better for election administrators. Should make elections run more smoothly,” said State Director of Elections Justin Lee.
House Bill 218, sponsored by Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck makes several changes.
Among other things, it permanently brings back Election Day registration, simplifies the process to register to vote when applying for, or renewing a driver license and allows counties to offer shorter early voting periods.
Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen says that’s a big one, especially for smaller elections.
“We can offer it, if we want for four days. So, we could have more locations, spread it out, extend the hours and offer it like on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and the Monday before Election Day and make it more productive,” said Swensen.
House Bill 281, sponsored by Representative Joel Briscoe allows 17 year-olds to vote in the primary, if they turn 18 before the general.
“Which makes a lot of sense. If you are going to be able to vote on the ultimate outcome of the race, you can now vote earlier on and decide who gets to that final ballot,” said Lee.
And, Senator Karen Mayne took aim at voter privacy. Senate Bill 74 limits registration to include the month and year of birth, but prohibits the day.
It also allows a voter to request their registration be entirely private.
“If they are already a registered voter they can just make that application, and say I want my record protected. So, it makes it much simpler,” said Swensen.
All three bills easily passed through the legislature with bipartisan support. Governor Herbert is now reviewing them.