Voting machines and other election technology in the clerk’s office will be the subject of the first of three audits to be conducted soon by the Salt Lake County auditor. The County Council instructed Auditor Scott Tingley to begin the performance audit of the clerk’s election apparatus because the time is approaching when the existing system will have to be replaced — and the council hopes this review will shape future decisions about whether to replace current machines or switch to mail-in balloting or something else. The election machines also represent a good starting point, Tingley said, because he estimates this audit will take two to three months. Meanwhile, his teams can work on two longer audits — a three- to six-month evaluation of health services at the county jail, and a nine- to 12-month review of the county’s Day Reporting Center, which oversees individuals who have been sent to jail for a misdemeanor but are responsible enough to serve part of their sentences in the community.
“We can get the first [audit] in a couple of months, and we’ll see how that goes,” Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton said. “After the first one, we have the ability to pull the plug and say ‘no way’ to keeping going.”
Her comment about the council’s leeway to revise its audit plan was a response to concerns expressed by two fellow council members, Republican Michael Jensen and Democrat Jim Bradley.
They thought it wiser to have Tingley’s office do just one performance audit before the council asks for more — in case the new GOP officeholder’s approach doesn’t coincide with what council members had in mind.