On every even year Utah holds partisan elections for county, state and sometimes federal offices, such as county commissioner, county assessor, county council, state representative and state senator.
On every odd year, Utah holds nonpartisan elections for municipal and special service district offices, such as city mayors, city council, parks & rec, water, sewer and school board.
In both instances, primary elections are held only when there are more than double the number of candidates for any elected seat. Primaries, if there is one, are held in August. General elections are held in November.
The next election is the general municipal elections across the state on November 7th, 2017. In addition, Utah’s District 3 will hold a special congressional election to decide who will replace Jason Chaffetz as Utah’s fourth congressional representative.
Not many people participate in 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
In order to qualify to vote in an election, you must be registered in advance. The deadlines remain consistent across all elections.
- Mail-in voter registration deadline: 30 days prior to an election
- Deadline to register as Republican before a GOP primary: 30 days in advance for unregistered or Democratic voters
- In person/online voter registration Deadline: 7 days prior to an election
Register to vote online through the Lt. Governor’s office by clicking here.
Find out everything you need to know to register to vote in our “How to Register to Vote” resource. Then ask your friends and family to register to vote as well.
2. Know when to vote
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. But these dates can vary county by county, and not all counties offer mail-in ballots at all. Find out the details about your election by entering your address at vote.utah.gov or call your County Clerk’s office.
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 with your County Clerk 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.
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. NOTE: Those who live outside of the boundaries of a municipality do not qualify to vote in municipal election primaries or the municipal general elections.
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 an election or your municipality is not holding a primary election. However, there may still be a general election for municipal positions in your city in November.
6. Know who is running for Congressional District 3
Are you in Utah’s Congressional District 3? Find everything you need to know about the special congressional election here.
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.
Once mail-in ballots are 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!