After president suggests delaying election, Utah governor says postponing it would be ‘foolish’

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, left, and Justin Harding, chief of staff for Gov. Herbert, walk through the rotunda to a COVID-19 briefing in Salt Lake City, Utah, July 30, 2020 | Associated Press file photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Republican Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said the state has no intention of delaying the November election following President Donald Trump’s suggestion on Thursday that increased mail-in voting due to the coronavirus pandemic would result in fraud.

Herbert said there’s been no evidence of tampering with mail-in ballots and characterized postponing the election as “foolish.” Utah is one of the few states that primarily relied on mail-in voting before the pandemic raised concerns about voting in person.

“I’m not responsible for what comes out of Washington, D.C., so I don’t think we need to postpone the election,” Herbert told reporters. “It’s been a blessing for a lot of people to be able to get the ballot, review the ballot, study the issues and the candidates and make an informed decision.”

Voting by mail has enjoyed increasing popularity in Southern Utah in recent years. Since 2018, St. George, Washington City and Washington County have adopted mail-in voting over the traditional method of going to the polls.

County and city officials have touted the benefit of mail-in voting, citing increased voter turnout over polling stations.

A mail-in ballot gets turned in at the dropbox at the Washington County Administration Building, St. George, Utah, November 2016 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Voter turnout in Washington City during the 2019 municipal elections doubled compared to 2017. Prior to the city switching to voting my mail in 2018, up to 60% of the ballots cast in the 2017 election were mailed in.

County and city officials also say an advantage of the mail-in ballots is allowing voters time to research who and what is on the ballot.

Written by SOPHIA EPPOLITO, Associated Press/Report for America. Eppolito is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues.

St. George News Senior Reporter Mori Kessler contributed to this report.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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