Election 2014: How to vote early and prepare for elections

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail
A sample ballot

Voters can view a sample ballot of their area on vote.utah.gov. (Photo courtesy Utah.gov)

Even though early voting starts Tuesday, Oct. 21, it’s not too late to get in voting shape for this year’s election.

Get on the list

First off, you have to be registered to vote. You don’t have to register for every election, but you must update your info if you’ve moved or changed your name so that you get the right ballot.

If you haven’t registered to vote already, it’s too late for you to vote early. But it’s not too late if you want to vote on Election Day, Nov. 4. The final registration deadline for this year is Oct. 27. You can go register in person at the Utah County Clerk/Auditor’s Office, 100 E. Center St. in Provo, or register online at vote.utah.gov — just click on the “Register to Vote” link on the left.

If you don’t know if you’re registered, it’s easy to check — just go to vote.utah.gov or call the Utah County Clerk’s office at (801) 851-8128.

No excuses

This year early voting locations will be open in 10 Utah County cities: from Eagle Mountain to Spanish Fork, from Tuesday to Friday this week and next week from Monday to Friday. Hours vary at each location, but they all close on Friday, Oct. 31 at 5 p.m.

The best part of early voting (besides avoiding Election Day lines) is that you can vote at any of the locations.

“If you live in Provo but work in Lehi, you can go vote at the location in Lehi, so it’s really convenient,” said Scott Hogensen, Utah County’s chief deputy clerk/auditor. Plus, the county has more early voting locations than ever before.

“I want people to be aware of that so they can take advantage of the chance to vote,” he said.

Here’s the list of early voting locations: utahcountyonline.org.

But don’t forget

Utah passed a voter identification law in 2009, and poll workers are required to ask for proof that you are who you say you are. Poll workers can accept a number of IDs, including a drivers license, concealed gun permit or passport. If your drivers license is expired or from somewhere else, you can still use that as ID (or another ID with a photo of you on it) as long as you also have something like mail that proves you live in the voting district.

“We want them to be able to vote on everything they’re entitles to vote on,” Hogensen said. “You need to take that stuff with you so you can get the right ballot format.”

Know before you go

Your ballot doesn’t have to be a pop quiz — you can find it online before the election. The state elections office puts out a voter information pamphlet for state and federal candidates with information provided by each candidate so you can study your choices before you check the ballot boxes. The only bad news is that it doesn’t have info on the local races, like school board, or bonds. But you can find a list of those on the Utah County elections site, utahcounty.gov.

If you’re not sure which of the candidates will be on your ballot, you can check that online too — vote.utah.gov. Just enter your voter information and then click “sample ballot.”

Share

Amie Rose has more than 14 years of experience writing and editing at newspapers in Utah and New Mexico. She graduated from BYU with a degree in journalism. She lives in Utah Valley with her husband, toddler and crazy dog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *