On August 15th, Utah will hold primary elections across the state for municipal and special service district offices, including numerous city mayors, city council members, water, sewer and parks & rec officials, etc. (NOTE: This is not a county election, though county offices may be able to direct you to the voting information of your municipality.) In addition, Utah’s District 3 will hold a special GOP primary election to decide the final Republican candidate for the general election on November 7th.
Not many people participate in these off-year elections. Why? Because few people know when the elections are, who is running or how to vote. Don’t be one of those people. Voting is the number one best way for ordinary community members to impact local policymaking. Here’s what you need to know to be a participating voter in the 2017 elections:
1. Register to vote
Deadlines for registering to vote before the upcoming August 15th primary are soon!
- Mail-In Voter Registration Deadline: July 17 (PAST DEADLINE)
- Deadline to register as Republican before the CD-3 GOP primary: July 17 (Must be completed 30 days in advance for unregistered or Democratic voters – PAST DEADLINE)
- In Person/Online Voter Registration Deadline: August 8
2. Know when to vote
The primary election is on August 15th, with early voting August 1-11 and the last day to mail in ballots on August 8th. Check your municipality for final details. Some do not allow early voting. Others allow mail-in ballots postmarked by August 14th.
The general election is on November 7th, with early voting October 24-November 3 and the last day to mail in ballots on November 2nd.
3. Know how to vote
Many cities and counties across Utah have opted in for mail-in ballots, which must be returned before the election day. However, voting in person is still an option. Check your city clerk or recorder’s office to find out how to vote in your area. For a primer on how mail-in ballots work, check out this video from the Utah Association of Counties.
4. Know who can vote in what primary
Democratic congressional and state primaries are OPEN, meaning the Democratic Party allows party members, unaffiliated voters or Republicans to participate in their congressional and state primaries. Voting in the Democratic Primary does not alter party affiliation status. THERE ARE NO DEMOCRATIC PRIMARIES AT THIS TIME.
Republican congressional and state primaries are CLOSED, meaning that only registered Republicans may vote in their congressional and state primaries. However, unaffiliated voters may register Republican at the polls in order to participate in GOP primaries.
Municipal and special service district election primaries are open to all registered voters in the municipality, as these elections are nonpartisan. Voters residing outside of the municipality may not vote in municipality elections. Only municipalities with more than twice the number of candidates needed to fill a seat will hold a primary election, and only for those positions.
5. Know who is running for what position – municipal and special service district elections
Each city recorder’s office can inform voters of what positions are up for election and who has filed as a candidate for those positions. Contact your local clerk for more information. County clerks may also be able to direct you to information. For those of you in the following areas, here are some links to help you navigate:
Salt Lake County: Elections (County Clerk) and Filed Candidates
Salt Lake City: Elections and Candidates
West Valley City: Elections/Candidates
Utah County: Elections and List of City Recorders to contact for candidate information
Provo: Elections and Candidates
West Jordan: Elections/Candidates
Davis County: Elections and Filed Candidates
Weber County: County Clerk/Auditor or Elections
Washington County: Election Information (Clerk/Auditor)
Cache County: Elections (Clerk/Auditor) and Candidate Information
Or use the state elections website at utah.vote.gov. This resource allows you to find your local election information based on your home address, including all your elected officials, sample ballots, candidate lists and links to register to vote. If there is no current election information displayed under your address, then you either reside outside of the municipality area holding a primary or your municipality is not holding a primary this year. However, there may still be a general election for municipal positions in your city on November 7th.
6. Know who is running for Congressional District 3
For voters in Utah’s CD-3, your primary and general elections this year will determine who will complete the remaining time in former Rep. Jason Chaffetz’ congressional seat. Delegates at the Democratic convention this year selected Democratic Candidate Dr. Kathie Allen as their general election candidate for Congress. That means there will be no Democratic primary for the position. Kathie Allen will join libertarian candidate Joe Buchman, independent candidate Jason Christensen and the winner of the Republican primary on the general election ballot.
This year’s special election marks a unique moment for the Republican party, with three candidates entering the GOP primary, two of which got on the primary ballot by collecting enough petition signatures to bypass delegate selection. According this report from the Utah Foundation, Republican candidates are far more conservative than the median Republican voter. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the delegates selected ultra conservative candidate, Chris Herrod, as the Republican candidate for Congress. However, because of SB 54, a 2014 compromise bill that allows more Utahns a voice in candidate selection, candidates who collect enough qualified signatures can avoid the convention process altogether. That’s how moderate Republican John Curtis, Mayor of Provo, landed on the primary ballot. And also Tanner Ainge, a lesser known conservative candidate.
Are you a Republican (or unaffiliated voter) in CD-3? This year’s special election is a unique opportunity for you to make your primary vote really matter!
The primary is coming right up, so take a moment to check out the candidates and pick the person who best represents your beliefs and needs.
- Tanner Ainge – Conservative Republican focused on smaller government. Licensed attorney with experience in the investing and healthcare industries. Currently operates a small business consulting firm. Son of Boston Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge.
- John Curtis – Moderate Republican focused on working for the people of Utah over the federal government and building on his successes as a business owner and popular Mayor of Provo. His platform includes balancing the budget, getting public lands right, fixing health care for real, prioritizing national security and stopping corruption in Washington.
- Chris Herrod – Conservative Republican, former state representative (Provo) and current real estate developer, Herrod has focused his campaign on international experience he has gained from 5 years of living overseas. His platform includes complete repeal of the ACA, transfer of federal land into state hands, deportation of illegal immigrants and support for Trump’s travel ban.
7. Make a plan to vote
Start planning now for the upcoming primary election. Check out who the candidates are. Decide how you will vote — by mail-in ballot or in person — and make a plan for when you will vote and what transportation you will need to do so. Block out a small amount of time in your calendar on the day you plan to vote to make sure you fit it into your schedule. Share your plan on social media and encourage your friends and family to make a plan too.
Not just in the general election in November, but starting in a couple short weeks in the primaries. Mail-in ballots have already been sent. Don’t wait to fill yours out and return it! Mail in your ballots right away or go to the voting booth to select the candidates you want to represent you. Then make sure your friends and family vote too!