Primary ballots on their way to Utah mailboxes

Primary ballots on their way to Utah mailboxes

(Deseret News, File)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Hundreds of thousands of ballots will be hitting Utahn's mailboxes this week ahead of the Aug. 15 primary.

As the ballots make their way through the mail stream, election officials are urging voters to be aware of important deadlines and requirements so they can cast their votes without issue.

"No. 1, watch for that ballot in the mail," said Utah County Clerk/Auditor Bryan Thompson. "And if you don't see it, please give us a call."

Meanwhile, the 3rd Congressional District to replace former Rep. Jason Chaffetz has heated up, with primary candidates anticipating the largely by-mail election and potential early voting.

Provo Mayor John Curtis, Alpine lawyer Tanner Ainge and former state lawmaker Chris Herrod have recently announced endorsements and rolled out TV commercials advertising their campaigns.

There are also some high-profile municipal primaries taking place, including a crowded race for several seats on the Salt Lake City Council.


While not all municipalities within Utah are holding a primary, all voters within the 3rd Congressional District will have an opportunity to participate — that is, if you're a Republican voter.

Because the GOP holds closed primaries, voters must be registered with the party to vote in the 3rd District primary.

The deadline to switch party affiliation — July 17 — has already passed, but voters who are are not affiliated with a political party may still affiliate up until the polls close on Aug. 15, though they can only register online seven days before the election, according to the state's election office.

Most counties participating in the primary election are conducting it mainly by-mail. In the 3rd Congressional District, Grand, Salt Lake, San Juan, Utah and Wasatch counties will use mail balloting, while Carbon and Emery counties are holding traditional elections where people must go to the polls.

It's Utah County's first by-mail election, Thompson said, so he's urging voters to use their vote-by-mail ballots though there still will be 19 centers throughout the county in case people need to vote in person.

Polling locations can be found at respective clerk's websites.

State Elections Director Mark Thomas said he's not sure what kind of impact the 3rd Congressional District special election will have on voter turnout, but he expects the election will increase turnout since municipal election years often see lower numbers.

For that reason, Thomas urged voters in vote-by-mail counties to "take advantage" of their ballots to avoid potentially long lines — an issue election officials encountered last year when more people voted at the polls than expected.

"Largely what we learned last year is people were not understanding (vote-by-mail) was the primary method of voting," Thomas said. "Particularly in Utah County, where they are going to vote by mail for the first time, we encourage people to take advantage of that ballot."

Salt Lake County Elections Director Rozan Mitchell said ballots should be showing up in voter mailboxes in the next several days, but if voters don't see a ballot she urged them to call their county clerk to request one before Aug. 10.

Important dates:

July 25 - Ballots mailed to voters

Aug. 1 - In-person voting begins

Aug. 8 - Voter registration deadline (online and in-person)

Aug. 10 - Last day to request by-mail ballot

Aug. 11 - In-person early voting ends

Aug. 14 - Last day to postmark vote-by-mail ballots

Aug. 15 - Primary election, polls close at 8 p.m.

Aug. 22 - County canvass period begins

Aug. 29 - County canvass period ends

Aug. 31 - Lieutenant governor canvasses primary election and certifies general election ballot

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Katie McKellar


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