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Enthusiasm for the 2020 presidential race sparked a record turnout for early voting in Box Elder County, with more than half of all registered voters in the county showing up to vote in person ahead of Election Day or sending their mail-in ballots early to avoid a crunch at local post offices.

The county held early in-person voting last Tuesday through Friday, and the Box Elder County Clerk’s office reported a higher-than-usual number of people showing up to cast their ballots.

County Clerk Marla Young said more than 200 people showed up to vote on Tuesday, Oct. 27, compared with 75 people across all four days of early voting for the presidential primary in March.

As of Friday, Oct. 30, Young said her office had received ballots from more than 50% of registered voters in the county. Large numbers of people were still expected to show up on Election Day Nov. 3 at in-person polling locations in Brigham City and Tremonton, but the large numbers of early votes still came as somewhat of a surprise.

“We haven’t had a lot of early voting the last couple of years, but this year definitely,” Young said. “We just did four days (of early voting) because we haven’t had that much turnout before, but we probably could have given people more (days to vote early in person).”

The county started counting early ballots late last week, but race results weren’t available until late Tuesday night after this week’s Leader had already been printed.

Young said the county hired more than 20 temporary poll workers to staff voting locations at the Bear River Valley Senior Center in Tremonton and the Utah State University Brigham City campus on Election Day.

The county brought in more help than usual because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she said. Workers sanitized voting booths after each visitor, and encouraged them to keep the pens they used to limit transmission of the coronavirus.

“We’ve had to do things a little different, but it has worked pretty good,” Young said last Friday. “I think we’re on the right track and things are going smoothly.”

The clerk’s office was planning to release its first batch of results after the polls closed at 8 p.m. on Election Day, with more counts to be released this Thursday or Friday, as well as next Tuesday.

The final results from the county are scheduled to be certified on the county’s official canvass day of Nov. 17, two weeks after the election.

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