Labor Day once traditionally marked the start of election season, though in recent decades as campaigning has intensified, that’s no longer the case. And since some states are sending ballots out as early as this week, now is the time to prepare for voting on Nov. 3. 

A recent Pew Research Center poll found that interest in this year’s presidential election is as high as it was at this time in 2016 and far surpasses the previous three election years. Some 83% of registered American voters profess “it really matters” who wins.

Interest in September, though, has no effect on the election unless it translates to votes in November. This year’s election will be different than any other, as more Americans will have access to vote by mail than any other election. Even with the ease of mail-in ballots, 49% of registered voters expect it to be difficult to vote.

If Americans want their voices to be heard come November, preparation starts today. Some states, like North Carolina, are getting a head start — 618,000 residents in the Tar Heel State were mailed ballots last Friday. In other states, like Utah, ballots will be mailed in mid- to late-October.

Yes, Utah is a model for voting by mail — if ballots are returned on time

Utah voters can prepare to receive a ballot by registering to vote now. Utahns must be registered by 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23. Prospective voters have three options: They can register online at, they can fill out a paper registration form and mail or email it to the country clerk, or they may visit the country clerk’s office in person. Those who do not register by the Oct. 23 deadline can register in person on Election Day at a polling location, but they must provide two forms of government identification. 

All U.S. citizens of 18 years of age or older are eligible to register as Utah voters if they have resided in the state for 30 days or more. College students or others whose primary residence is out of the state should request a ballot from their home state.

Voters can also follow election coverage from the Deseret News and other publications over the next two months. The first presidential debate is scheduled for Sept. 29, while the first vice presidential debate is slated for Oct. 7 at the University of Utah

While this year — and, in turn, this election year — has been far from the usual, voters should feel comfortable and confident in the validity and security of vote-by-mail elections. Leaders in Utah, like Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, whose staff oversees elections, have praised the system as a tried-and-true practice in the state.

“Done correctly, it’s amazing,” Cox recently told The Atlantic’s McKay Coppins. “Done poorly, it can call into question even the potential validity of the election.”

By registering early and returning ballots on time, Utah voters can do their part to ensure a secure, accurate election.