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Utah County ballots are without prepaid postage this year, but postal service will still deliver

By Carlene Coombs - | Jun 6, 2024

Isaac Hale, Daily Herald file photo

Marina Graham, of Lehi, drops her ballot in a drop box at a polling place held at the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ church in Lehi on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.

This year, the Utah County Clerk’s Office announced it would no longer be offering prepaid postage on mail-in ballots, which the county has offered before.

Voting instructions included in ballots for the primary election, which were sent out this week, state that postage is “required” for mail-in ballots, encouraging voters to use a drop box to save on postage.

“Postage is now required when returning ballots through U.S. Postal Mail, and they must be postmarked no later than June 24, 2024,” the instructions read. “We encourage you to save the postage by using a county-provided drop box conveniently located in each city.”

However, according to the U.S. Postal Service and Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, mail-in ballots will still be delivered regardless of postage.

Utah County Clerk Aaron Davidson said he thinks the voting instructions are a “good choice of words.”

Carlene Coombs, Daily Herald

A mailer from the Utah County Clerk's Office, pictured Thursday, June 6, 2024, instructs voters how to submit their ballot.

“It (the postage) is required if you want to be a good citizen,” he added.

For ballots delivered without postage, the postal service says it will attempt to collect the postage from the proper board of elections.

Counties are not required by state law to provide prepaid postage on ballots. A handful of Utah counties, such as Salt Lake, offer prepaid postage, but a majority do not.

Davidson said the decision to remove prepaid postage was about saving money and ballot security. Davidson estimated the postage costs for the county are about $100,000 a year.

“But if you want to use the U.S. Postal Service as a convenience, we feel that the voter should pay for that convenience and not charge the taxpayers for them to return their ballot through a more convenient way for them,” he said. He added that residents can use free voter methods, such as ballot drop boxes and early voting.

Davidson said during the Democratic presidential primary this year, ballots returned without postage cost the county about $350. Of the 1,853 ballots he said were received, 449 were returned without postage.

With ballots having been sent out Tuesday, Davidson said his office has received 65 so far, with 11 missing postage. He said each ballot without postage costs them about 68 to 81 cents.

Money wasn’t the only issue factored in when it came to postage decisions, Davidson said, adding that he wants to encourage methods like ballot drop boxes due to security.

“We don’t have custody of the ballots when they’re in the hands of the U.S. Postal Service,” he said. “And I’m not saying the U.S. Postal Service is doing anything wrong. They do great; they service the ballots well. But there is a little bit of tighter security and ballot custody if voters use the drop boxes instead of the U.S. Postal Service.”

State Sen. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, posted an online photo of the voting instructions Thursday, reminding voters that ballots will be delivered without postage.

“This instructional piece is mostly political from the Utah County Clerk,” he wrote on X. “Postage is NOT required.”

For voters using mail-in voting, ballots must be postmarked the day before the election, June 24. Ballots placed in drop boxes need to be put in the boxes by 8 p.m. June 25. A list of drop box locations can be found on vote.utah.gov.


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