Following the lead of many other cities in Utah County, the Springville City Council is considering a switch to voting by mail.
The municipal elections will be held statewide on Nov. 7 this year. Two council positions and the mayoral seat are up for re-election in Springville.
City manager Troy Fitzgerald presented information to the city council during a work session Tuesday night concerning what switching to vote by mail would entail.
According to a slide on Fitzgerald’s presentation, 14 cities in Utah County have already approved vote by mail, including Provo, Orem and several south county cities like Spanish Fork, Payson and Santaquin.
The last municipal election, in 2015, cost Springville about $25,000. Estimates for a vote-by-mail election would cost the city about $40,000, if both a primary and a general election are necessary, Fitzgerald said.
“So you’re looking at about $15,000 in increased costs,” Fitzgerald said. “In return, you get a little better voter participation.”
Though costs would probably increase, Fitzgerald said that would largely be made up for because city staff would no longer be responsible for spending their time on many election duties.
Cities in Utah County who participate in vote by mail contract with Utah County, which does most of the work including receiving the mailed ballots, verifying and counting them before presenting the numbers to the city.
The city would then do away with early voting, and would not have the normal 10 polling locations open for its nearly 15,000 registered voters.
One voting center would still most likely be available on election day itself for people to either vote in person or drop off their mail-in ballot, Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald said Utah County has set a deadline in early April for cities that want to participate in vote by mail, so the decision will have to be made before the city’s budget for the June through July fiscal year has been finalized. But he said vote by mail is being factored into the budget model being worked on right now.
“Really all I needed was direction to make sure you weren’t going to come after us for that $15,000,” Fitzgerald told the council.