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Stories about Utah

All candidates for Canyons Board of Education District 5 in Utah complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Canyons Board of Education District 5 in Utah — incumbent Steve Wrigley and Karen Pederson — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office. 

According to the Canyons school district website, the “Board of Education is comprised of seven elected community leaders who are responsible for establishing education policy for the children who attend school in Utah’s newest school district. The Board of Education works to create and implement a vision for public education that is focused on student achievement, innovative practices, community engagement, customer service and fiscal accountability.”

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?               

Wrigley:           

“The past two years has seen an increase in level of student behaviors and mental health issues. Our teachers and administration are stressed and need our support. Our community has become fractured. We need to provide a comprehensive student support system that will get our students back on track and support them to become life ready. We need to keep the concepts and philosophies of CRT out of our schools. We need a foundational character education program that will teach respect, resiliency, and other key emotional skills.”

Pederson:       

“As a recently retired educator, I have experienced the weight of the demands placed on teachers, the expectations to have all students at or above grade level, and the constant implementation of new initiatives without the time and support to accomplish them. This is one of the main of teacher stress and burnout. I will look to see what can be streamlined or eliminated from current employee workload. Less stressed teachers are better able to meet the diverse needs of our students.”

Click on candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

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Canyons School District, Utah, elections, 2022



All candidates for Jordan Board of Education Precinct 3 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Jordan Board of Education Precinct 3 — incumbent Tracy Miller and Robyn Barnhill — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office. 

According to the Jordan School District website, the board of education “works with students, parents and District employees to provide students with educational opportunities, prepare for the world of work, and develop attributes of citizenship necessary in a democratic society.”

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?            

Miller:

  • “My primary focus is student success. All students should have the opportunity to learn and succeed in a safe and positive environment.”
  • “I support our teachers. We need to retain our great teachers and attract high quality teachers to the profession. I have consistently voted for increased compensation, more prep time, and additional resources to support our teachers.”
  • “I am fiscally responsible. I voted against the recent Jordan District tax increase because it was too high. I have supported modest increases in the past.”

Barnhill:       

  • “Parents need to have a more effective way of being heard and having their ideas implemented”
  • “Teachers need better support. No more irrelevant and unnecessary trainings. Keep it short, sweet and to the point so they can spend enough time prepping and teaching!”
  • “Better financial oversight, especially at the higher levels. Lets make sure salaries are appropriate and that we are keeping the money with the kids!”

Click on the candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:



All candidates for Granite School District Precinct VI in Utah complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Granite School District Precinct VI in Utah — incumbent Karyn Hermansen Winder and Yvette Romero — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office. 

According to the Granite school district website, the Granite Board of Education “holds public meetings once or twice monthly to establish district policies, approve purchases and budgets, receive reports from district administrators, approve administrative appointments, and conduct other business.”

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?            

Winder:           

  • “THE KIDS- I will continue to support quality education for our students. They are my top priority.”
  • “PARENTS & TAX PAYERS- I will continue to support parental and community involvement in our classrooms, as well as maximizing precious tax dollars.”
  • “TEACHERS & SUPPORT STAFF- Granite School District has the best employees around, and I want to support all on our team to do the best job they can.”

Romero:           

  • “Proud Granite District graduate who has lived the same challenges many students face.”
  • “Educator and Social Worker with 15 years of experience ensuring access, promoting equity, and fostering a sense of belonging for everyone.”
  • “Priorities focused on our collective recovery from COVID, mental health resources, community engagement, and renewable energy.”

Click on candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:

Granite School District, Utah, elections 2022



Rate of state legislative incumbents facing contested primaries in Utah at its highest since 2014

Fifteen of the 82 Utah state legislators running for election this year—two Democrats and 13 incumbents—face contested primaries. That equals 18% of incumbents seeking re-election, the highest rate since 2014. The remaining 82% of incumbents are not facing primary challengers.

Utah uses a unique convention-primary structure where candidates participate in party conventions before advancing to the primary. This year, conventions were held on April 23.

If a candidate receives at least 60% of the delegate vote in the convention, they typically advance directly to the general election. If no candidate crosses that threshold, the top-two vote-getters advance to a contested primary.

In 2014, state law was changed so that candidates can also qualify for the primary ballot by collecting the required number of signatures.

Ballotpedia does not count contested convention races as contested primaries. Nevertheless, incumbents can be challenged and can lose in conventions if they do not gather signatures. Three incumbents have already been defeated: Reps. Stephen Handy (R), Douglas Sagers (R), and Steve Waldrip (R). This is the most state legislative incumbents defeated in Utah’s conventions since 2014.

The total number of contested primaries—including those without incumbents—also reached its highest point since 2014. With 90 districts holding elections, there are 180 possible primaries in 2022.

This year, 23 districts (13%) are contested: three Democratic primaries and 20 for Republicans. For Democrats, this is up from one in 2020, a 200% increase. For Republicans, the number increased by 18% from 17 in 2020 to 20 in 2022.

The filing deadline for candidates running for state legislative office in Utah this year was March 4. Candidates filed to run for all of the state’s 75 House districts and 15 of its 29 Senate districts.

Eight of those districts were left open, meaning no incumbents filed to run, the fewest since 2014.

Overall, 161 major party candidates advanced beyond the convention this year: 52 Democrats and 109 Republicans.

Utah has had a Republican trifecta since the party won the governorship in 1984. This is currently the longest, continuous Republican trifecta streak nationwide.

Utah’s state legislative primaries are scheduled for June 28, the eighth statewide primary date of the 2022 state legislative election cycle.

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Utah sees the most contested primaries since 2014

The filing deadline for candidates running for Congress in Utah this year was March 4, 2022. Thirteen candidates are running for Utah’s four U.S. House districts, including four Democrats and nine Republicans. That’s 3.25 candidates per district, less than the 3.75 candidates per district in 2020 and more than the 2.5 in 2018.

Here are some other highlights from this year’s filings:

  • This is the first election to take place under new district lines following the 2020 census. Utah was apportioned four districts, the same number it was apportioned after the 2010 census.
  • All four incumbents filed to run for re-election, meaning there are no open seats this year. That’s one fewer than in 2020, when there was one open seat.
  • All four incumbents are facing primary challengers, the highest number since at least 2014.
  • Utah’s four incumbent congressmen are Republicans, meaning there are four contested Republican primaries this year. There are no contested Democratic primaries.
  • The four contested primaries this year are the most since 2014, when six primaries were contested. 

[Insert Datawrapper chart here: https://app.datawrapper.de/chart/ZILcz/publish]  

  1. Four candidates, including incumbent Rep. Blake Moore (R), are running in the 1st district, the most candidates running for a seat this year.
  2. Republican and Democratic candidates filed to run in all four districts, so no seats are guaranteed to either party this year. 

Utah and four other states — Colorado, Illinois, New York, and Oklahoma — are holding primary elections on June 28. Winners in Utah primary elections are determined via plurality vote, meaning that the candidate with the highest number of votes wins even if he or she did not win an outright majority of votes cast.

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Sponsors of Utah initiative to require in-person voting and voter identification fail to submit enough signatures to qualify for 2022 ballot

The signature deadline for Utah initiatives passed on Feb. 15, 2022. Secure Vote Utah collected signatures for an initiative that would have required a valid state-issued ID to vote and would have made in-person voting on election day the primary voting method (rather than voting by mail). As of 10:50 a.m. local time on Feb. 15, the Utah Lieutenant Governor’s office showed that Secure Vote Utah had submitted 3,828 valid signatures. To qualify for the ballot, 137,929 valid signatures were required.

One other citizen initiative was filed in Utah targeting the 2022 ballot. Utahns for Fair Elections sponsored the initiative, and it would have established open top-five primaries and ranked-choice voting for general elections in which voters ranked candidates. The initiative was withdrawn prior to the signature deadline.

The last time a citizen initiative was on the statewide ballot in Utah was in 2018. All three initiatives on the 2018 ballot in Utah— a marijuana legalization measure, a Medicaid expansion measure, and an independent redistricting commission measure— were approved by voters but were later altered by the state legislature. Eleven of the 21 states that feature the initiated state statute power, including Utah, have no restrictions on how soon or with what majority state legislators can repeal or amend initiated statutes approved by voters.

The Utah State Legislature referred a constitutional amendment to the 2022 ballot during its 2021 legislative session that would increase the amount of money the legislature can appropriate in an emergency session. The state legislature can refer additional constitutional amendments to the ballot during its 2022 legislative session, which began on Jan. 18 and was set to end on March 4, 2022.

A total of 47 measures appeared on the statewide ballot in Utah between 2000 and 2020. Between 2000 and 2020, 85% (40 of 47) of statewide measures were approved by voters, and 15% (7 of 47) were defeated.



Utah enacts new legislative maps

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R) signed new state legislative district maps for both chambers into law on Nov. 16, 2021. After Cox called a special session to begin on Nov. 9, the Utah legislature voted to approve the House and Senate district maps on Nov. 10. The House passed a proposed map of their own districts in a 60-12 vote and voted 58-13 to approve the Senate map proposal. The Senate approved the House district proposal in a 25-3 vote and approved their own proposed map in a 26-2 vote. These maps take effect for Utah’s 2022 legislative elections.

Both proposals differed from those presented to the legislative committee by Utah’s Independent Redistricting Commission on Nov. 1. The commission presented 12 maps (three each for House, Senate, congressional, and school board districts) to the Legislative Redistricting Committee, one of which was submitted by a citizen.

Lynette Wendel (D), who lost the election to represent Utah House District 39, said the districts were drawn to maintain Republicans’ majorities in the state legislature. “It was a very strategic approach so that very few people who have an insulated agenda can force that agenda continuously on this state,” Wendel said. Summit County Democratic Party Chair Katy Owens (D) said, “We would love to be able to have the opportunity to elect the representatives that we want but these maps have been deliberately drawn to prevent that.”

Sen. Scott Sandall (R), who along with Rep. Paul Ray (R) co-chaired the Legislative Redistricting Committee, said the new maps were drawn with citizens’ interests in mind. “After listening to Utahns and touring the state, Rep. Ray and I created maps that we believe incorporate the interests of all Utahns,” Sandall said. Ray said the legislature, not the Independent Redistricting Commission, “has the constitutional responsibility to divide the state into electoral districts” and he and Sandall “have worked tirelessly to come up with boundaries that best represent the diverse interests of the people we were elected to represent.”

As of Nov. 17, 20 states have adopted legislative district maps, one state enacted its legislative boundaries based on Census estimates which will be revised in an upcoming special session, and 29 states have not yet adopted legislative redistricting plans after the 2020 census. At this point after the 2010 census, 29 states had enacted legislative maps.

Nationwide, legislative redistricting has been completed for 687 of 1,972 state Senate seats (34.8%) and 1,780 of 5,411 state House seats (32.9%).

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Nevada and Utah hold special legislative sessions for redistricting

Here’s a summary of recent redistricting updates from Nevada and Utah.

Nevada: On Nov. 11, 2021, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) announced a special session to address redistricting would begin on Nov. 12. Legislators are expected to debate the congressional and state legislative maps released on Nov. 9.

Utah: The Utah legislature began its special session focused on redistricting on Nov. 9. The House passed a congressional district map proposal on the first day of the session, and the Senate followed a day later. Both chambers also approved legislative district plans for the House and Senate on Nov. 10. Gov. Spencer Cox (R) signed the congressional districts into law on Nov. 12, but as of Nov. 15, he had not signed the legislative map proposals.



Redistricting committees appointed, adjourned, and change in Ohio, New Mexico, and Utah

Here’s a summary of recent redistricting committee updates from Ohio, New Mexico, and Utah.

In Ohio, the state legislature announced members of the Joint Committee on Redistricting, which will be holding two hearings on congressional redistricting proposals before the Nov. 30 deadline for map enactment. The committee’s members are Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R), Sen. Rob McColley (R), Sen. Vernon Sykes (D), Rep. Beth Liston (D), Rep. Scott Oelslager (R), and Rep. Shane Wilkin (R). Sykes is the only member of the joint committee who was also a member of the Ohio Redistricting Commission.

The New Mexico Citizen Redistricting Committee adjourned on Oct. 29 after submitting its final set of map recommendations to the legislature. The commission’s proposals do not bind the state legislature, which retains the authority to adopt, amend, or discard the proposals as it sees fit. Additionally, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) has veto authority over the maps. The legislature is expected to convene in December to begin considering proposals.

In Utah, former U.S. Rep. Bob Bishop (R-Utah) resigned from the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission on Oct. 26. Bishop said the commission favored urban areas and that the commission “is a metro-centric group. […] The majority are from Salt Lake County, we see things in a different way.” The executive director of Better Boundaries, an organization that supported the ballot proposition creating the commission, said: “We are encouraged by the work of the remaining six commissioners to suggest objective and qualified maps to the state legislative redistricting committee through this fair and transparent process.” On Oct. 29, Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson (R) appointed former Utah Commissioner of Agriculture and Food Logan Wilde (R) to replace Bishop on the commission.

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Salt Lake City to use ranked-choice voting for the first time in November election

The general election for Salt Lake City, Utah, is on Nov. 2. The election will be the first time the city uses a ranked-choice voting system. After the Utah State Legislature gave cities the option to use ranked-choice voting, the Salt Lake City Council opted into the program in April 2021.

Candidates are competing for five seats on the seven-seat city council. Districts 1, 3, 5, and 7 are holding regular elections for a four-year term, while District 2 is holding a special election to fill a two-year term.

In a ranked-choice voting election, voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, he or she is declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. First-preference votes cast for the failed candidate are eliminated, lifting the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots. A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority.

A primary election had originally been scheduled for Aug. 10 but was canceled when the city council voted to institute ranked-choice voting.

Salt Lake City is the capital of Utah. Ballotpedia covers elections for mayor, city council, and district attorney in all U.S. capitals.