FARMINGTON — About 13,500 mail-in election ballots had been received as of Monday afternoon, said County Elections Director Brian McKenzie.
That’s more than half-way to the total ballots cast in the 2010 primary and about one-third of the 2012 primary. But Monday was still two weeks and a day before the June 24 election day and deadline to receive mail-in ballots.
“It’s going very well,” said Clerk/Auditor Steve Rawlings of the process. This is the first time the county has conducted mail-in voting. Davis County is by far the most populous county to participate in the program this year.
Between 600 and 1,500 ballots have been coming in each day, McKenzie said.
“We’re waiting until election day to tabulate them all,” he said. “We are running them through the ballot scanners but the actual tabulation isn’t until election night.”
“Our manpower time is far less than what we had anticipated,” McKenzie said. “They’ve just been going through and processing them (ballots) so quickly. That’s going to help on part of the cost.”
The tabulation will take place shortly after polls close at 8 p.m. June 24. McKenzie expects the process to announcing vote totals should go quickly that night.
“We’ll do further postings to our web site as the polling results come in,” he said. “The biggest delay is going to be due to the distance from the Syracuse Community Center. They have that travel time” to transport the ballots to the County Complex in Farmington.
The other six voting centers are closer, geographically, with the North Branch Library in Clearfield the furthest north and South Branch Library in Bountiful the furthest south.
It’s expected the process will save money in many ways. Instead of more than 700 poll workers and as many election machines being located at 50 or 60 polling stations, there will be the seven polling locations, with far fewer machines and poll workers.
The cost of mailing ballots to voters is lower than normal because the county was able to use a nonprofit entity rate. Final postage costs won’t be available until after the election, McKenzie said.
Another big cost savings comes in not having to buy so many new polling machines in the future, Rawlings said.
“It’s going to be the savings we’ll be able to generate in the future” that is really big, he said. “We won’t have to spend $4 million on new machines. At some point they will become obsolete, and the (voting machine) manufacturers won’t support them anymore,” just as happens with computers.
“Within the next five years we’re estimating we won’t be able to use them. When that happens, there’s no money left” from specially earmarked funds that were tapped to buy the current machines, Rawlings said.
“As I visited with my (election) colleagues, they asked how things are going. They’re interested in what we’re learning and how the experience is going,” McKenzie said of other counties’ officials.
So related story in this section on voting center locations and other details.