Waiting up late to see who wins on election night may be frustrating Tuesday. More municipal primary races than usual may remain undecided — for up to two weeks — because many ballots will still be in the mail. Most major Utah cities switched this year to voting primarily by mail, including seven of the eight Salt Lake County cities holding primaries Tuesday. Fourteen of the 16 cities in Utah’s largest county will also vote by mail in the Nov. 3 general election — all but Taylorsville and West Valley City. By-mail ballots must be postmarked by Monday, the day before the election. So they may trickle in over several days. State law prohibits updating vote counts publicly between election night and the final official vote canvasses by city councils — which must be held between seven and 14 days after the election.
“If the races are tight, people definitely could be waiting until Aug. 18” to discover winners when cities in Salt Lake County hold their canvasses, said Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen.
Brian McKenzie, election manager for Davis County, said some cities there will wait two weeks, until Aug. 25, for their final canvass.
“People could be waiting for a while, but they always are” in close elections, Swensen said. For example last year, three Democratic legislative candidates were leading on election night — but lost to Republicans after late-arriving mailed absentee ballots and provisional ballots were counted two weeks later.