A bill to allow Election Day voter registration died Thursday — ironically killed by election officials who worried that it could work too well, and cause them too much work, in a state that has among the worst voter turnout in the nation. HB91 died on a 10-18 vote in the Senate, after earlier passing the House 58-14. Most of the opposition cited was from county clerks who said it could create more work than they could now handle between when votes are cast and when counts must be finalized. Sen. Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, Senate sponsor of the bill, tried to overcome that by amending the bill to delay enactment for two years to give clerks time to prepare. Another amendment was added to sunset the bill after another two years — unless lawmakers decided it worked well enough to extend.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, D-Salt Lake City, has noted that Utah law now allows people to register on Election Day and cast provisional ballots. While that is used to register them for future elections, the provisional ballots are discarded if officials find those people were not previously registered in Utah.
“What this bill does is allow the vote to be counted,” Jenkins said. “This allows you to register and vote on same day if you prove your residency and identity.”