SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 NEWS) – Political analysts are calling it the most important election in modern history, and the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench in the way we’ll vote. The push this General Election is voting by mail.
As of Thursday night, close to 80 million Americans have cast their ballots which is an early voting record.
It’s Jaeli Iams first time voting in a Presidential Election.
She says, “It was pretty interesting, just like, voting and sitting there going, ‘what am I doing?’ “
She chose to vote by mail.
“I had my parents help me out, figuring out what everything meant,” says Iams.
President Donald Trump votes-by-mail himself, but continues to criticize the process.
“They’re going to be rigged,” says the President. “Who knows where they’re going, who knows where they’re coming from.”
On another occasion President Trump added, “We have to be careful with ballots. The ballots are a whole big scam.”
Is there truly a scam? To answer that question, ABC4 News printed out 104 Unofficial Ballots following the last Presidential Debate.
We then scoured seven counties and dropped the ballots in the mailboxes.
“We’ve had a record number of people turning them in,” says Justin Lee the Utah Director of Elections. “So overall, the election is working very well.”
The Postal Service is officially in charge of delivering all ballots that hit the mail.
Floyd Wagoner the USPS Strategic Communications Specialist says, “We have entire teams dedicated to making this season, the 2020 Election season successful, and right now there are no issues we’ve identified across the state.”
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy continues to come under fire from democrats for allegedly slowing down the mail delivery through his policies, like the decision to remove high-speed sorting machines.
Wagoner says ballots will arrive on time here in Utah.
“We are collecting the ballots and we are delivering them on time to the right location,” he says.
Lee says 99 percent of ballots for Utah’s Primary Election came in via mail.
In the 2020 General Election, more than 42 percent of Utah’s active voters, or more than 752,000 Utahns, have already voted. Lee says that’s about half of what the state saw in the 2016 Presidential Election.
“This is great, and what we need to see continue, so we don’t have long lines or crowding at the polling places on Election Day,” Lee adds.
2020 marks the first time residents in all 29-counties will have the option to vote-by-mail.
“Vote by mail is not new here in Utah, but the way it has been embraced this year is great,” says Lee.
What to do if you still need to get your ballot in?
Officials say check mailbox collection times and have your ballot postmarked by Monday, Nov. 2nd.
Lee adds, “At this point I would tell people to walk it into the Post Office, have them stamp it, and make sure that – that is good to go, and then there will be no problem with the county clerks counting that.”
So, what about the ABC4 News Unofficial Ballot Test?
Within two business days, we received 96 of 104 Ballots sent by first class mail.
The final eight ballots arrived over the next three days, matching the states turnaround time for mail-in-ballots of two-four business days.
“That is great to hear,” says Lee. “This isn’t new for us, it is not new for them. You know we can do this here in Utah.”
“I think the reality is we are having a lot of success in Utah Jason,” Wagoner adds. “We are going to deliver the American vote. We are just encouraging voters to get out there early, vote early, and return your ballots early.”
If you would like to track your Official Elections Ballot, click the ‘Track my mail or provisional ballot’ tab on https://vote.utah.gov. You’ll need to put in your personal information to find out where your ballot is.
Wagnor says the USPS is planning to come back to Utah to review the election process in hopes they can use some of Utah’s methods in the rest of the Union.