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Ballots in Utah County are without pre-paid postage this year, but the Postal Service is still delivering | News, sports, jobs


Harrison Epstein, file photo from the Daily Herald

Voting will take place on Thursday, November 3, 2022 at the Utah County Voting Center in Provo.

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

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

“Stamps are now required when returning ballots via US Postal Mail, and they must be postmarked no later than June 24, 2024,” the instructions said. “We encourage you to save on postage costs by using a county-provided mailbox conveniently located in each city.”

However, according to the US Postal Service and Utah Lieutenant Governor Deidre Henderson, ballots will still be delivered by mail regardless of shipping costs.

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

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

For ballots delivered prepaid, the Postal Service says it will attempt to collect postage from the appropriate board of elections.

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

Davidson said the decision to eliminate prepaid postage was a matter of saving money and voting security. Davidson estimated that shipping costs to the county are about $100,000 per year.

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

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

After the ballots were mailed out Tuesday, Davidson said his office has received 65 so far, 11 of which are missing stamps. He said each ballot without postage costs about 68 to 81 cents.

Money wasn’t the only issue considered in postage decisions, Davidson said, adding that he wants to encourage methods like ballot drop boxes for security reasons.

“We have no control over the ballots when they are in the hands of the US Postal Service,” he said. “And I’m not saying the US Postal Service is doing anything wrong. They are doing great; they take good care of the ballots. But there is a little tighter security and control of ballots if voters use the drop boxes instead of the US Postal Service.”

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

“This piece of instruction is largely Utah County Clerk politics,” he wrote on X. “Shipping is NOT required.”

For voters who vote by mail, ballots must be postmarked the day before the election, June 24. Ballots placed in mailboxes must be placed in the boxes by June 25 at 8 p.m. A list of locations for the mailboxes can be found at ballot.utah.gov.



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