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Utah voting encouraged despite group's objections

Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said he wants Utahns to know they will be allowed to go to the polls this Tuesday even if someone challenges their right to vote. The issue was raised after a group threatened to make people prove they are U.S. citizens before voting in the primary.

"I am very disturbed by this threat and believe this type of challenge could scare citizens from exercising their right to vote," commented Shurtleff. "This is intimidation - plain and simple."

Utah allows for two types of challenges to voters. First, a document identifying the voter and the basic for the challenge must be submitted with the county clerk by the Friday before the election. However, no challenges were made before the filing deadline.

Second, a challenge can be made at the voting precinct when a person tries to put the ballot in the ballot box. A person can be challenged for four reasons:

•The voter is not the same person listed in the official register.

•The voter is not a resident of Utah.

•The voter is not a citizen of the United States.

•The voter has not resided in Utah for 30 days before the election.

When a voter is challenged, the election judge will ask the person to provide proof of identity and residence and then allows the individual to vote with a provisional ballot.

The provisional ballot will be processed and counted after the election judge verifies the voter's identity and residence.

"Utah has always had a process in place to let people vote and resolve any challenges without holding up the entire election," said Shurtleff. "I am encouraging all registered voters who wish to participate in the upcoming primary elections to go to the polls on Tuesday and vote."

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