SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Utah County is putting mobile technology to the test in an effort to give residents who aren’t currently living in the area a new option to vote.
State election officials say if it’s successful, it could have huge implications down the road.
Utah County is going where no other county in the state has gone before with mobile voting.
“They use an app on their phone to mark a ballot, and it goes into a virtual lockbox until it’s time for us to count ballots,” said Utah County Clerk Amelia Powers.
Powers says the pilot program applies to residents serving in the military or on church missions overseas.
Until now, their options were to vote through fax, email or snail mail.
“We have these people that are overseas fighting to defend our freedoms and they don’t even get to vote in our elections, and have their vote count unless it’s a close race. This gives them to option to have their vote counted with everyone else’s,” said Powers.
She says some overseas voters have already cast their ballot for the upcoming municipal primary.
It will also be used for the general in November 2019.
The state is watching with interest.
“Does it work well, is it secure and can we audit it well? That’s always been one of the concerns about online voting, is it both secret and auditable, which is difficult to balance those two things,” said State Director of Elections Justin Lee.
Lee says he’s cautiously optimistic.
He’s hopeful it can become a state standard, and even go further than overseas voters.
“We see potential accessibility features here. Someone that, you know, is homebound or has some kind of disability could use this to vote from home,” said Lee.
To find out more about the pilot program make sure to catch the next Inside Utah Politics.
It starts on Sunday morning at 8.
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