Utahns will likely no longer have to wait two weeks to find out election results in tight races. HB21, a bill requiring clerks to update vote counts between Election Day and the official canvass, has already sailed through both the House and the Senate with overwhelming approval. It now awaits Gov. Gary Herbert’s signature. The proposed law change comes after voters waited anxiously to know the winner of two high-profile, neck-and-neck races last year: the Salt Lake City mayor’s race and Proposition 1 in Salt Lake County. Elections officials deemed both races too close to call on Election Day, with thousands of lingering vote-by-mail ballots still making their way to clerks.
“Having been a candidate myself, I know you’re on pins and needles when it comes to knowing those results. I totally understand wanting to know,” said Utah County Clerk Bryan Thompson. “I think this will help calm those nerves as you wait for those results.”
Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen said if the governor signs the bill into law, it will help solve many “unknowns” for voters and candidates following close races for years to come, starting with the 2016 election.
“It’s never done until it’s done, but they will get a better idea throughout the two-week canvassing period as to how things are going, whether the gap is closing or if the margin is widening,” Swensen said. “It will give the public more information along the way, which is always good — especially for the candidates who might find themselves in a tough situation.”