October 6, 2008 By Andy Opsahl
Utah is developing online voter registration functionality, and it may use Salt Lake County's system as a template, according to a county official.
Salt Lake County is currently the only municipality in the state that lets residents submit voter registration forms online, said Julio Garcia, director of the Salt Lake County Employees' University and former director of elections for the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office (SLCO).
The project, first implemented in 2007, aims to eliminate much of the data entry involved in voter registration. Citizens complete voter-registration forms online, then click send to transfer their data to an electronic "holding table." They also print a copy of the form, sign it and mail it to the County Clerk. That printed form contains a barcode -- a SLCO employee scans it upon arrival -- that retrieves the registration information from the holding table and sends it to the registration database.
The system could dramatically reduce the percentage of registration forms the county rejects due to missing information. The challenge is getting voters to register online, Garcia explained. Although the county doesn't have exact numbers yet, Garcia said the number of online registrations is relatively low.
Currently the SLCO rejects 10 percent of all mailed voter registration forms. The figure is even worse for county residents who register to vote through Utah Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). They get their forms rejected nearly 50 percent of the time, Garcia said.
You may use or reference this story with attribution and a link to