Utah County Clerk's Office blames lengthy 2018 Midterm ballot for 4-hour voting lines

Long lines on Election Night had some Utah County voters waiting for more than four hours. (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) — Long lines on Election Night had some Utah County voters waiting for more than four hours.

Crowds at the Provo Recreation Center wrapped around the parking lot for much of the night. Voters there were casting ballots until midnight.

“It was incredibly frustrating,” said Creela Belle Howard, a Utah County voter.

She stood in line until after 11 p.m.

“It took five hours. It took five whole hours,” Howard said, “I almost left. I was like, ‘Do I really care about voting this much?’”

Paul Crenshaw also cast his ballot at the Provo Recreation Center. He arrived at 3 p.m., hoping to beat the rush. He didn’t leave until 6:20 p.m.

“I feel like it was an oversight on the county’s part. They didn’t plan for the turnout that happened,” Crenshaw said.

Utah County Chief Deputy Clerk Scott Hogesen said they didn’t anticipate the crowds.

“We didn’t think we’d have that much of a problem,” Hogesen said.

He blames a lengthy ballot for the long wait time and said people should have voted by mail.

“It’s not meant to have everybody show up routinely and go there and vote. They’re supposed to vote on the ballots we send them in the mail instead of do that,” Hogesen said.

Across Utah County, there were 24 polling places open on Election Night. But still, there was some confusion among voters.

“When you look up your polling place on government websites, the only place that was showing up was this one,” Crenshaw said.

U.S. Census figures show Utah County is one of the fastest-growing areas in the country, growing by nearly 54,000 people from 2012 to 2016. That means more expected voters come 2020.

“We need a better education campaign to make people aware that we’re doing vote by mail now," Hogesen said. The county’s goal is to have 90 percent of voters voting by mail.

Howard and Crenshaw said they learned their lesson this election. They’ll be casting their ballot by mail from now on.

"I don't ever want to go through that again," Howard said.

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