Voter Handbook2019-12-06T11:51:21-07:00

Voter Handbook

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 the summer somewhere between June and August. General elections are held in November.

For more info about our election system check out: How Elections Work in Utah.

Next election important dates

Find upcoming election dates at the Lt. Governor’s website at

7 Steps to becoming an informed voter

Not many people participate in off-year, midterm or primary 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 community members to impact local, state and federal policymaking. And the lower the voter turnout, the MORE YOUR VOTE COUNTS! Here’s what you need to know to be a participating voter in 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 affiliate 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
  • Or register to vote at the polls on Election Day (this may require you to fill out a provisional ballot)

Register to vote online through the Lt. Governor’s office by clicking here or through Voterise here. Or register to vote by texting “VOTERISE” to 788-683.

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

2019 Municipal Election Dates: The primary elections will be held August 13th, 2019. The general elections are on November 5th. Mail ballots will be sent to voters July 23rd and October 15th respectfully. In-person early voting is from July 30-Aug 9th for Primaries and from October 22-November 1 for the General Election. Early voting may not be available in all municipalities.

Find out the details about your election by entering your address at, going to your local city or county election website or calling your County Clerk’s office.

3. Know how to cast your ballot

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. Early voting may be available as well, but dates can vary. Check with your County Clerk to find out how to vote in your area. To learn how mail-in ballots work, check out this video from the Utah Association of Counties.

4. Know who can vote in what election

  • General elections: Any qualified registered voter may vote in a general election.
  • Municipal and special service elections (odd years): Only voters registered within the boundaries of a municipality may vote in municipal elections
  • Primary elections: Qualified registered voters may participate as follows:

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. You must be registered as a Republican 30 days in advance of primaries to be eligible to participate. However, unaffiliated voters may affiliate as Republicans 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. These elections occur on odd years only.

5. Know what and who you are voting for

  1. Find out who currently represents you and what district you are registered in by filling in your address at and clicking “Elected Officials”.
    • Take note of incumbent elected officials and your congressional, state senate and state house district numbers.
  2. Find out who is running for office in your districts by checking the Lt. Governor’s website, which lists candidate filings for federal and state offices by district (as well as information about how to file for candidacy). This site also lists state school board candidates. County Clerks offices and your local county/city websites also offer ballot, candidate and voting information.
    • For municipal elections, city recorder’s offices can inform voters of what positions are up for municipal and special service district elections, including who has filed as a candidate for those positions.
    • Use candidate websites, articles and debates to get information about the candidate and their positions.
    • Check VoteSmart for unbiased reviews of incumbent positions and votes on key issues and websites like Vote411 (all candidates) and Ballotpedia (school board) and League of Women Voters (school board) for certain candidate bios and the Utah Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission for judges. 
    • Check vote trackers or grading reports on legislators from organizations working on the issues you care about most to find out how your incumbent votes on the issues you care about most.
  3. Find out what issues will be on your ballot. See what ballot propositions, questions and constitutional amendments are on the ballot, if any.
    • State-wide ballot issues are listed on the Lt. Governor’s website.
    • Check your local county and city elections websites for local ballot questions.
    • Don’t know where you stand on those issues? Check with organizations you trust to find out their position or read up on articles online to determine your position.

6. 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!

Voter Resources – This resource allows you to find your local election information based on your home address, including all your elected officials, precinct number, sample ballots, candidate lists and links to register to vote.

NOTE: If there is no current election information displayed under your address, then you may reside outside of the municipality area holding an election and are not qualified to vote in that election, your municipality is not holding a primary election (though there may still be a general election later in the year) or election info is not yet available. Be sure to check local county or city election offices or websites for information specific to you. – For election information, ballot measure information, candidate filings and election results.

County Information – Individual pages by county with info about the structure of the county government, departments and roles, county government meetings and contact and election information. Some quick links:

Salt Lake County: Elections (County Clerk) and Filed Candidates
Salt Lake City: Elections and Candidates
Sandy: Elections/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
Orem: 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