Salt Lake County Clerk
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Sherrie Swensen, Salt Lake County Clerk, directs the Election, Marriage, Passport and Council Clerk Divisions for Salt Lake County.
Ms. Swensen believes in the fundamental right of all citizens to vote and, to that end, encourages voter participation by making the process as easy and accessible as possible. Since becoming County Clerk, Ms. Swensen has vigorously pursued voter registration efforts, encouraging all citizens to exercise their important right to vote.
As part of this effort, she implemented the "High School Voter Registration Program" and has annually conducted voter registration drives and encouraged student involvement in the electoral process. She established the countertop display boxes for mail-in voter registration forms. These displays appear in locations countywide, including post-offices, libraries and college campuses. Ms. Swensen also conducts voter registration drives at community events, conferences and business gatherings. She established the "Senior Tour," visiting senior citizen centers throughout the County, registering voters and encouraging participation in permanent vote by mail.
Ms. Swensen has coordinated and established numerous successful programs to make voter participation more convenient for residents of Salt Lake County. She has promoted a Permanent Vote by Mail program which offers citizens the convenience of having a ballot automatically mailed to them for every applicable election. The Permanent Vote by Mail Program in Salt Lake County has grown to include nearly one fourth of the voters. Her website offers valuable information where voters can check their registration status, view a sample ballot for their precinct, find their Election Day polling location, track their vote-by-mail ballot, obtain a marriage license application, etc.
In 2006 the State of Utah converted from the punch card voting system to electronic touch screen voting devices. The Salt Lake County Clerk's Office had the enormous task of providing extensive training to thousands of poll workers. Officials and local media praised the poll workers' competency and helpfulness at the polls, noting that poll workers were instrumental in fostering voters' confidence in the electronic voting process. The Lieutenant Governor of Utah used the training provided to poll workers by the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office as an example of how to successfully train poll workers.
Ms. Swensen proposed and successfully lobbied for the passage of House Bill 488, "Emergency Absentee Ballots," passed during the 1996 legislative session. This law allows people hospitalized or confined to a care facility after the absentee application deadline, to vote. Individuals falling into this category may now have a ballot hand-carried to them by a friend or relative.
Ms. Swensen spearheaded legislation that changed the State's marriage law. After only three months in office, Swensen realized there was a problem with Utah’s marriage law when a fourteen year-old was brought from Texas to marry a fifty-six year old man. Swensen immediately asked for a legislative bill to be sponsored to change the existing law. After the law was changed, it required that a fourteen or fifteen year old interview with a juvenile court judge to determine if they were voluntarily entering into the marriage. Prior to the adoption of the new State Law, Utah was one of only three states in the Nation that allowed a child to marry with the consent of only one parent. Often, older men were coming to Utah to marry young girls and take advantage of Utah's lenient law. Under the stricter law, the number of fourteen and fifteen year old teens marrying decreased by two thirds. Finally, the law was changed again, now prohibiting fourteen year olds from marrying in Utah and mandating that a juvenile court judge give permission before a fifteen year old can marry.
In 2014, Ms. Swensen asked to have legislation sponsored to
better protect the information in voter records. As a result, Senator Karen
Mayne sponsored SB 36 and it was passed into law protecting a voter’s birthdate
and allowing a voter to have their registration record classified as private.
In 2000, Ms. Swensen received the League of Women Voters Community Service Award for her efforts to increase voter participation. In 2010 she was honored as the recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Award.
Ms. Swensen was born in Murray and resided in Midvale for 28 years prior to moving to Sandy in 1998. She has two sons and eight grandchildren. She was involved in little-league sports programs for over ten years and served on the Executive Board of the Ute Conference and as president of the Hillcrest Ute Conference.