Amid national discussion about alleged voting irregularities in the presidential race, a Utah lawmaker wants to assure confidence in the election process by creating a system to track voters’ ballots. Rep. Dan Johnson, R-Logan, said the mistrust of mail-in voting being vocalized in many parts of the country led him to sponsor HB70 for the upcoming legislative session to require a ballot tracking system. The system would be optional for registered voters to sign up for, but would provide electronic notifications via email or text that their ballot was received and counted. “I think that really matters to people,” Johnson said, “My concern is that if you guys don’t have trust in voting in a democracy, that can be pretty problematic.” Utah voters can already track their ballots by visiting votesearch.utah.gov once they’ve mailed it in. Johnson wants to give all registered voters the choice to streamline the process of verifying mail-in voting with auto-alerts when their ballots arrive at their county’s ballot center. “It’s just one more way to have that notification and have it quicker and for people to have confidence in the fact that my ballot got to the place where it was supposed to get and those who are in charge, at that point, have actually run the ballot and it’s been properly counted,” Johnson said. Justin Lee, the state’s director of elections, said developing the system could be done easily by obtaining the software capabilities from third-party vendors.
A bill recently signed by Gov. Brown designates the California Secretary of State to come up with the tracking system that will be optional for counties, including San Diego, to use. San Diego County Registrar of Voters Michael Vu said infrastructure would need to be built to use the vote by mail tracking system locally. Vu said the county will consider it. Vu added that already voters can check online when their ballot was issued and received. This new tracking system would allow voters to get a text or email about their ballot. Notifications would come when ballots are sent in the mail and once they have been picked up and officially counted. The system must be in place by 2020, and the bill designates the secretary of state to create it.
Without the satisfying pull of a lever or the little sticker that says “I voted,” mailing in an absentee ballot can leave a voter a little uncertain this his choice will actually count—and Councilman Ben Kallos is looking to change that. Mr. Kallos is introducing legislation today that would require the Board of Elections to provide a secure website through which New Yorkers could track their absentee ballot—from the moment the city receives the request for a ballot until the moment the vote is counted. “The tracking system we’re asking for is something the Board of Elections should have in place for their own internal tracking purposes, and we’re asking them to have it in place not only for themselves but for the general public,” Mr. Kallos told the Observer.