Three things voters need to know ahead of this year’s municipal election
Ballots for municipal primary elections arrive in mailboxes across the state. The results of these elections will determine the mayors, city council members and other local positions for the next four years.
These elected offices have as much influence in your daily life as any member of Congress, senator, or even president. Burning issues such as affordable housing and land use requirements, business permits and regulations, and local law enforcement are greatly influenced by who your local elected officials are. This is why it is so important that you make your voice heard.
Unfortunately, off-year municipal elections do not see the voter turnout they should. As an election official, I know how important it is to help voters be informed so that they can vote as easily as possible. Here are three things you should consider before voting in this year’s election:
1. Are you registered to vote?
Voting is your opportunity to shape the direction of your community, state, and country. Yet many are unable to exercise this right to vote because they are not registered to vote. Registering to vote is easy. Voter registration status can be verified by visiting Vote.Utah.Gov. There you can view your voter registration status and update your address if necessary.
If you are not currently registered to vote, you can submit a new registration on this same website. The deadline to register to vote in the next primary elections is July 30. If you miss the registration deadline, you can register to vote at the polls on election day.
2. Does your city hold a preferential vote election?
In Utah, a ranked choice ballot allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference. If their first choice does not obtain a simple majority of the votes, their vote goes to their second choice, and so on. This method entirely eliminates the need for a primary election.
This year, 23 towns in Utah have chosen to conduct their municipal elections in this manner. If your city is one of them, you will not have a primary to vote. You can see if your city is participating in ranked choice voting here.
3. The election is safe, secure and fair.
Utah is a leader in electoral security protecting the Republican system of government created by our founders. We have been running secure mail-order elections statewide for over 10 years now. With each election, security grows stronger. Utah implements a variety of controls to protect election processes and results, such as double custody of all election materials, verification of signatures by at least two trained election officials, physical security measures and increased cybersecurity and continuous training of employees on best practices. The people of Utah need to know that our elections are safe, secure and fair.
Utah faces many challenges and this year’s election is crucial. The policies adopted following this election will have an impact on the quality of life in our state for years to come.
Election officials and their team of professionals are dedicated to removing barriers to exercising their right to vote. Our goal is to make elections efficient and secure. It is then up to you, as the voter, to make sure that you run. Study the candidates, attend town halls, fill out your ballot, then drop it in the mail or at a drop box near you.
As a voter and resident of Utah, I encourage you to take full advantage of this year’s election, make your voice heard, and help prepare our state for the growth, challenges and successes ahead.
Josh Daniels is the Utah County Clerk / Auditor.