The impact of mail-in ballots on the 4th District race


Voters still don’t know who won Utah’s 4th Congressional District race between Democrat Ben McAdams and Republican Burgess Owens. Just like in the presidential election, mail-in ballots also contributed to this election delay. 

The rumor mill is churning out accusations of voter fraud on both the national scale as well as the local level. Associate director of the Hinckley Institute, Morgan Cotti, explained why it’s difficult for any candidates to prove voter fraud. 

“Utah has been doing vote-by-mail for several elections now. We really have it dialed in, it’s almost down to a science. Those signatures have to be verified, people have to be registered and receive those ballots. All of those things are put into place to make sure that that fraud does not happen.” 

The McAdams, Owens race for Representative of Utah’s 4th Congressional District has been one of the most expensive races in Utah history — upwards of $20 million. Cotti brought to light that the reason behind the big spending is due to the fact that the district gets lots of attention from packs as well as the national parties. “They might now care about exactly what’s going on in Utah or Utah issues, but they really care about that seat and want to make sure it’s in their column.”

Currently, the campaigns are following a verification process to make sure every legal ballot gets counted and cured. When a ballot is cured, that is when a ballot has an issue–it’s hard to read, or the signature doesn’t match. When this happens, this gives the campaigns an opportunity to help voters fix their ballots to ensure their votes get counted. 

Cotti says it can take up to two weeks to count all the ballots after Election Day, and even longer if they have to do a recount to determine a winner. Salt Lake County election workers hope to finish counting and verifying all the ballots by the end of this week.

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