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Team Utah County, Utah

Amelia Powers Gardner, Clerk/Auditor, and Josh Daniels, Deputy Clerk/Auditor

Amelia Powers Gardner and Josh Daniels
Josh Daniels and Amelia Powers Gardner
Nathan Ivie
Since Amelia Powers Gardner was sworn in as clerk/auditor of Utah County, Utah, in January 2019, she and her chief deputy Josh Daniels have brought several significant changes to the county through tech. These accomplishments are partially driven by Gardner and Daniels’ unpleasant interactions with government as private citizens.

Both Gardner and Daniels had less-than-satisfactory experiences as absentee voters, so the two initiated their most publicized project. During a primary election last summer, overseas and military voters from Utah County were able to cast ballots through the mobile app Voatz. Afterward, Gardner and Daniels continued to push the envelope, holding a live demonstration to show how Voatz ballots can be audited, thanks to the app’s blockchain component. In the county’s November general election, voters with disabilities could also utilize Voatz. According to Tusk Philanthropies, which funded these efforts, that was the first time the disabled community participated in mobile voting in the United States.

A fully online marriage license option, inspired by Gardner’s own tedious visit to a county office before she got married, represents another major accomplishment for the duo. Thanks to the upgrade, no part of the marriage license process in Utah County — from applying to getting the officiator’s signature to certifying the document — requires paper or a trip to an office.

The two are proud of other advancements, from electronic signatures for contracts to the digitization of decades of financial statements. They recognize that what’s good for government can also be good for citizens.

“A lot of our efficiencies and improvements the public may never directly see,” Gardner said. “But our hope is that by improving the processes internally in the county, that the county as a whole … can better serve the public and become more efficient.”

“We work with a lot of people who want to serve the public and serve the public better if possible, but they didn’t necessarily see a pathway to achieve that,” Daniels said. “But we’ve helped to drive a vision, which has developed a pathway.”
Jed Pressgrove has been a writer and editor for about 15 years. He received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in sociology from Mississippi State University.