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House committee passes bill to extend early voting period

FILE: Early voters in some Utah counties would be allowed to cast ballots on the day before an election under a bill a House committee approved Tuesday.
FILE: Early voters in some Utah counties would be allowed to cast ballots on the day before an election under a bill a House committee approved Tuesday.
Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — Early voters in some Utah counties would be allowed to cast ballots on the day before an election under a bill a House committee approved Tuesday.

State law permits early voting to start two weeks before Election Day, but not on the Monday before a Tuesday election. Salt Lake County turned away hundreds of voters in November who showed up to vote on Monday.

HB105, sponsored by Rep. Craig Hall, R-West Valley City, would give counties the option to extend the last day of early voting to the day before the election.

“My preference would be to make it mandatory statewide,” Hall told the House Government Operations Committee.

But, he said, rural counties asked him to make it optional because they need Monday to get ready for Election Day.

Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, said the bill is one good step to make it possible for more people to vote, but she would like to see it go statewide.

The committee unanimously approved the measure. It now goes to the full House.