State election officials are studying the impact mail in ballots could have on voter turnout

- SALT LAKE CITY- (ABC 4 Utah) – What to do about low voter turnout in Utah is a big concern on the hill.

That's why the legislature asked the state elections office to investigate the feasibility of switching to a mail-in system state wide.

The political science departments at the University of Utah, Utah State and BYU are doing the ground work.

"They are going through and digging into the data. They are going to be traveling to other states that have gone to vote by mail and to get all of this into a report," said Director of Elections, Mark Thomas.

It's already an option in some areas of the state.

In Salt Lake County all you have to do is fill out an application and the ballots will show up in the mail.

Last month, less than 10% of registered voters participated in the primary election, but 33% of the ballots mailed out were returned.

"People get their ballots earlier, they get time to study the candidates and they are more informed. I think it's just very convenient and people tend to vote in higher numbers," said Salt Lake County Clerk, Sherrie Swensen.

Davis County was one of seven to go with an all mail in election last month, 27% of the ballots were returned.

Election Director, Brian McKenzie says that's the greatest turnout ever for the county.

State Elections Director, Mark Thomas warns we shouldn't jump to conclusions.

He says in other states early success has worn off and there are many factors to consider.

He believes the best solution is one with choices.

"What we have seen from voters is that they like these options. They like the early voting, they like Election Day voting, they like by mail voting," said Thomas.

He hopes to wrap up the study and present it to the legislature by September, then it will be up to lawmakers to decide.

View the entire interview with Thomas here.

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