Today the Utah State Legislature will begin meeting in a special session to consider legislation around the state’s response to coronavirus. Among the 21 bills and resolutions that will be debated is HB 3006 Election Amendments
by Rep. Jefferson Moss and Sen. Wayne Harper.
HB 3006 modifies the way that the 2020 primary election on June 30th will be run to balance public health concerns due to the COVID-19 crisis. Among the many components of this bill is a provision to permit (but not require) a county to become a “mobile voting county”, meaning that the county would provide a drive-up voting option on election day. The bill states that otherwise the 2020 Primary Election will be held entirely by mail.
During a typical election, in-person voting sites provide a variety of services, including the use of voting machines for voters with disabilities or others who prefer to use them, same-day voter registration and voting, voting for those who misplaced or never received their mail-in ballot, and provisional ballots as a “failsafe” voting method for those who need it. HB 3006 does not allow for early in-person voting, in-person voter registration, same day voter registration by provisional ballot or any use of provisional ballots.
While the health and safety of election workers and government employees absolutely must be protected, this bill too severely limits options for voters and may disenfranchise many.
Some ideas for amendments/improvements:
- Require all counties to provide at least one drive-up voting site and give them the option of providing additional sites and/or also permitting drive-up voting during the early voting period.
- Require a certain number of ballot drop boxes and providing funding for counties that do not have enough boxes already. Another idea is to use already existing infrastructure – other states have made use of library deposit boxes, for example, as options for voters to return ballots.
- Permit online voter registration through election day to preserve same-day voter registration options. Voters who register online after a certain day could be “provisional” and their information verified after the election (before their provisional ballot is counted).
- Require counties to assist voters with disabilities by providing curbside voting by machine or a remote voting option. The bill currently leaves this up to counties, but should do more to help accommodate voters with disabilities.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
UPDATE: This bill has passed in the House. Use our simple email form below to contact your state senator and ask them to support these changes today!
Simply scroll down and click “Start Writing” to email your state representative and state senator.