More than Half of County Clerk Websites in Utah Score over 90% in Survey of Essential Election Information

But several county webpages lack basic information about the election

Affiliate: ACLU of Utah
October 27, 2020 4:45 pm

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UTAH – A week before the 2020 election, the ACLU of Utah is releasing a detailed survey of the election webpages operated by the state’s county clerks. In Utah, county clerks are responsible for organizing elections in each of the state’s 29 counties, wielding considerable authority over how, when, and where residents receive their ballots and cast their votes.

In the survey, the ACLU of Utah graded each of the county’s webpages based on 18 metrics related to the current election. These measures include, “Register to vote information,” “Information about ballot drop boxes,” and “Information for voters with disabilities.”

Download the complete ACLU of Utah’s 2020 report and scoring index.

In 2020, more than half (15) of Utah’s county clerk webpages received an “A+” or “A” grade by including more than 90% of the metrics. Counties scoring a perfect 100% on the survey include Davis, Duchesne, Grand, Iron, Kane, Salt Lake, San Juan, Summit, Tooele, Utah, Wasatch, Washington, and Weber.

“When voters have questions about an election, their first point of contact should be their county clerk,” said Nikila Venugopal, Voting Rights Manager for the ACLU of Utah. “This reliance makes these websites essential for finding local and accurate information to help voters answer questions and solve problems. We are pleased to see so many county clerks in Utah take their role seriously by updating their websites to make this election safe, accessible, and secure.”

Despite a majority of counties in Utah scoring well, three counties received a “D” grade in the survey: Juab, Emery, Sanpete; and one county received a failing “F” grade: Piute. As one example of webpage shortcomings, most of the election information for Sanpete County is posted in a PDF on a public notice webpage separate from the main county website. No links on the county clerk’s webpage connect to this information.

The omissions on the Sanpete County website are especially glaring since that county’s mail-in ballots were misprinted without the required signature verification line on the envelope. This error resulted in a scramble to mail follow-up postcards to all Sanpete County residents. To fix this problem, voters in Sanpete County are now instructed to sign a perforated tab on the return envelope, or sign and return the explanatory follow-up postcard. However, no information about this remedy is currently published on the Sanpete County website or the clerk’s webpage.

The ACLU of Utah notified counties receiving failing grades last week to explain the metrics they were missing on their websites. We are grateful that several counties made immediate improvements to their website, including Carbon, Sevier, and Wayne Counties.

This is also the second comprehensive survey of county clerk webpages in Utah this year. In May, the Disability Law Center released its “Utah Voter Communication Report” which outlined the specific omissions on each election website for all 29 Utah counties.

Download the complete ACLU of Utah’s 2020 report and scoring index.

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