What is the difference between mail-in voting and absentee voting?
David Spunt takes a look at the differences between mail-in voting and absentee voting
As the United States prepares to hold a presidential election in the midst of a deadly pandemic, many states are relying on voting by mail to reduce in-person contact at the polls, including Utah.
Utah law allows counties to opt-in to universal mail-in elections, which means all voters are sent mail ballots whether they request one or not. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, more than two-thirds of Utah's counties conducted universal mail-in elections in 2016 and every one will do so in 2020.
"While no system is perfect, Utah is a model showing vote by-mail can be successful and secure," Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who is the state's elections officer, said in a tweet earlier this summer. "We are happy to advise and assist other states (and we have) to make sure there is no reason to delay a general election."
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ABSENTEE VOTING AND UNIVERSAL VOTE-BY-MAIL?
Most states that hold universal mail-in elections, including Utah, have in-person voting options as well, with Oregon being a notable exception. In Utah, voters can return their ballot in the mail, drop it off at one of the drop boxes provided by the state, do in-person early voting or go to a polling place on Election Day.
County clerks in Utah will mail voters their ballots between Oct. 13 and Oct. 27. For ballots to be counted, according to the state's voting information website, they must be postmarked by the day before Election Day — this year that is Monday, Nov. 2.
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Utah voters can track the status of their mail-in ballots online.
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