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Why Salt Lake County election officials are asking voters not to vote in person

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Lines at polling place have already been long with hundreds showing up to vote in person. Because of COVID-19, poll workers are taking extra precautions. (Photo: KUTV)

For the first time ever, Salt Lake County election officials are asking voters to stay away from the polls. They still want you to vote, but they’re asking you to mail your ballot in or drop it in one of the county's 21 drop boxes.

“Voting by mail is not a political issue. We have great statutes, policies and procedures in place here to make sure it’s safe, effective and successful,” Lannie Chapman, chief deputy clerk for Salt Lake County said.

Because of the pandemic, they are asking voters to do their part to keep poll workers and the public overall as safe as possible.

“We want to save the in-person voting for the people who, for whatever reason, did not receive their ballot or that have some ADA accommodation needs,” Chapman said.

Lines at polling place have already been long with hundreds showing up to vote in person. Because of COVID-19, poll workers are taking extra precautions.

“In years past, we’ve been able to line people up, no problem. But now with Covid, social distancing, it’s a lot more difficult,” Chapman said.

Related article: Here's what happens after Utahns mail in or drop off their ballots

Elizabeth Thomas showed up at the Salt Lake County Government Center on Tuesday to cast her vote in person. She said she’s more comfortable voting that way.

“[I’m] exercising my civic duty,” Thomas said. “I think some of the rules regarding signatures around your driver license leave room for a vote to be thrown out. So, I just like the reassurance of knowing that my vote will count.”

But, Chapman said Utah voters should have the same confidence voting by mail.

It is safe. It is secure, and it saves both you and our poll workers,” she said. “If you don’t need to vote in person, please, this election, don’t.”

Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 2 to be counted in the election.

More from Ginna Roe: Seeing double: Davis County man mailed 2 ballots from 2 counties

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