A voter walks past a ballot box on Election Day at city hall in Cottonwood Heights on Nov. 8, 2022. The Utah Legislature approved a bill to address recommendations proposed by the legislative auditor general to improve Utah’s elections process.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The Utah Legislature took recommendations from a recent election audit to heart last week, passing a bill to implement several suggestions to improve election security and transparency.

Although a legislative audit of Utah’s election system found no instances of widespread voter fraud, it noted small discrepancies in the number of ballots cast and the number of votes recorded in some counties.

As a result, the auditors recommended the state adopt a public reconciliation of ballots, which is one of the things HB448 would accomplish.

Bill sponsor Rep. Cory Maloy, R-Lehi, told fellow lawmakers his bill adopts 18 of 22 recommendations made by the audit. He grouped the provisions into the following five categories:

The bill gives the state’s top election official, the lieutenant governor, specific authority and methods to enforce election law. The lieutenant governor’s election office “will provide a method of consulting, training, warning, and, if necessary, enforcing our election laws,” Maloy told a Senate committee last month.
It also improves the use of a statewide voter database to “allow for more consistent and effective use by counties.” Maloy said the bill “requires the lieutenant governor’s office to manage voter registration activities, analyze county use of a database to ensure the use of building controls monthly and maintains a document describing statutory voter list maintenance for clerks.”
When it comes to vote count discrepancies, HB448 requires public reconciliation of ballots, requires an immediate count of ballots received and requires chain of custody standards to better track the receipt and count of ballots.
HB448 gives election workers more details about what it means for signatures to match and requires signature verification training. Maloy said it also requires a study by the Division of Motor Vehicles and the lieutenant governor’s office on how to improve the quality of signatures on file.
Lastly, Maloy said the bill strengthens Utah’s election audit system by prohibiting an individual from auditing their own work. It also requires the …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


What Utah election reforms were suggested by recent audit?

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