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Pilot program puts same day voter registration to the test in four Utah counties

SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – On Primary Election Day most registered voters skip the polls.
SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – On Primary Election Day most registered voters skip the polls.

That’s where a three year pilot program approved by the state legislature could come in.

It allows for same day registration, meaning nonregistered voters can go to their polling place, register and then cast a ballot.

That applies to people in four counties across the state, Salt Lake, Davis, Weber and Kane.

Those counties have all applied to participate in the program and have been approved by the Lt. Governor's Office.

Counties can get into or leave the program at any time over the next three years.

The hope is more people will participate in an election with an historically low turnout.

Two years ago was considered a good year at only 20%, in 2008, which is considered a similar year to this year only 8% voted in the primary.

Director of Elections, Mark Thomas explains how it works for unregistered voters on site.

"They would be required to show proof of identity and also proof of residency. Then they will be given a provisional ballot and then later, in the days to come after the election the clerk will process those. They'll ensure they are who they say they are, that they live where they say they live, they'll ensure they didn't vote in any other location and if all of that checks out then they will go ahead and count their ballot."

Thomas likes that the four counties currently in the program represent a good mix of small, medium and large population areas in the state.

After three years they will analyze feedback from clerks and voters along with other information to decide if the program should be implemented permanently across the state.

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