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Utah County Commission: Lee falls behind with few ballots left to process

By Kelcie Hartley - | Jul 1, 2022

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald

People wait to pick up their ballots at the polling location in the Utah County Health and Justice Building in Provo on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.

The Utah County Clerk’s office has completed counting, and reported, 98% of the total votes cast from Tuesday’s GOP primary election.

Utah County Clerk/Auditor Josh Daniels said the county received over 90,000 ballots, and there are approximately 1,900 ballots that haven’t been processed.

About 1,200 of those ballots were considered “cures,” meaning the ballots were turned in unsigned or signatures didn’t match. The county has to request the ballot owner “cure” the discrepancy by submitting a signed affidavit.

“That process is ongoing between now and the date we certify the election in two weeks,” said Daniels. “There are similar kinds of curing issues with provisional ballots. For example, if a voter shows up and doesn’t have ID, they can vote provisionally but then come back later and produce ID for their ballot to be opened and counted. So there’s a few little exceptions like that, and that’s the majority of the ballots that haven’t been counted yet.”

The official board of canvassers will meet July 12 to certify the election.

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald

Brandon Gordon addresses delegates during the Utah County GOP Convention at Cedar Hills High School on April 9, 2022.

Daniels said the county was well prepared for this election after experiencing high voter turnout in 2020. This year, Republican voter turnout in the county was approximately 42% — lower than the state’s average of 47% — so election workers were well prepared to handle Tuesday’s outcome.

“We actually trailed the larger Wasatch Front counties in terms of percent of voter turnout among republican voters who could have voted,” said Daniels. “Having the largest Republican population compared to larger counties along the Wasatch Front counties is an explanation as to why Utah County had a lower voter turnout. Because the average voter identifies as a Republican, more so here than in other counties, that will contribute to lower turnout.”

Many voters preferred the convenience of ballot drop boxes over in-person voting at a polling center. Fewer than 3,000 people decided to vote at one of the county’s six polling centers, according to Daniels.

The elections office website posted Thursday afternoon the most up-to-date data on the unofficial election results.

As previously reported by the Daily Herald, the race for Utah County Commissioner Seat B was the only race with a margin narrow enough to have the outcome change, but this was not the case. With under 2,000 votes to be processed, incumbent Utah County Commisioner Bill Lee trails Brandon Gordon by 1,858 votes.

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald

Bill Lee participates in the Utah County Commission debates at Utah Valley University on Thursday, March 31, 2022. Lee is a candidate for commission Seat B.

Gordon currently holds 51.17% of the total 79,392 votes cast, as of Thursday’s updated numbers, while Lee has 48.83% support.

Gordon said this week has been a rollercoaster ride of emotions as he watched the percentages fluctuate up and down.

“I had a vision of it being election day and knowing the results, but mail-in ballots really manifest over so many days. I’m excited to serve. It’s really hard to think I have to wait six months before I’m sworn it, but I think it’ll help with the transitions that will take place,” Gordon said.

Gordon is currently serving in his third term as a member of the Spanish Fork City Council. He previously stated that his goals in office would include making county commission meetings more accessible for residents and strengthening relationships with law enforcement.

“I’m just really excited to serve the community. I want to start building relationships with the county employees and elected officials,” he said.

Lee did not respond to the Daily Herald’s request for comment.

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