An Ephraim lawmaker’s bill to provide for Utah’s participation in a Western States Presidential Primary in March 2016, along with internet voting options for military personnel and people with disabilities advanced out of committee Thursday with a 7-1 vote. “We have two options in state statute and it is an appropriations decision,” Rep. Jon Cox, R-Ephraim, sponsor of HB329, said of the $3 million implementation cost. “If that’s something we feel is worth that expense, at certain times we’ve said yes in our state’s history and other times we’ve said no.” The other option Cox referenced is the caucus system where delegates select the party’s presidential nominee.
Mark Thomas, state elections director, said that the Lieutenant Governor and many others are excited about the concept of internet voting. “There are legitimate questions that have been looked at and continue to be looked at,” Thomas said, such as how do you allow for a private ballot while at the same time maintain the ability to audit that ballot?
His office is in the process of putting a report together about internet voting after a year of study, “One of the things we learned is that if you’re going to do it, do it on a small scale and very slow,” Thomas said.