For the first time ever, Salt Lake City voters this primary and general elections will vote ONLY by mail, and a new UtahPolicy poll shows that more than half of all voters in the state are interested in their city elections this year.
Pollster Dan Jones & Associates finds that on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 being “very interested,” 51 percent give themselves a 6 or 7 in the “interested” category – meaning they are paying attention to their city elections and plan to vote this year.
However, previous municipal elections historically don’t have a 50 percent turnout.
And especially in a primary vote, turnout is down from that considerably.
That’s why Salt Lake City Recorder Cindi Mansell (in this video) explains why the state’s largest city is holding vote-by-mail balloting only this year.
She says the aging electronic voting machines (run by the Salt Lake County Clerk’s Office) combined with the successes in vote-by-mail recent elections has moved the city to this decision.
City residents can see how to register to vote and how to vote here.
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker seeks a third, four-year term this year.
He has two serious challengers, City Council Chairman Luke Garrott and former state legislator Jackie Biskupski.
City elections are nonpartisan – meaning a candidate’s political party affiliation is not on the ballot.
But Salt Lake City has elected only Democratic mayors for the past 40 years – Becker, Garrott and Biskupski are all Democrats.
The Aug. 11 primary election (the mail-in ballots will be totaled and announced that night) will provide for the top two-vote-getters to advance to the November final election.
The capitol city’s mayoral race is the premiere attraction this off-election year.
Most other cities in the state aren’t holding mayoral contests – only city council seats and the stray proposition are on their ballots.
The primary election is Aug. 11. And as the law provides, the mail-in ballots can start coming in July 14.
Salt Lake City will have four locations where a voter can drop off their ballot Aug. 11. You can even register to vote at those locations and get a ballot, which you fill out and drop off there. But there won’t be voting machines available at any time – all Salt Lake City voting will by mail-in ballots.
In any case, Jones finds in a new poll that city-dwellers are paying attention to their elections this year:
- 51 percent say they are very interested (6-7 on the scale), 10 percent said they are “neutral,” and 11 percent said they are not at all interested (1-2 on the scale).
- 55 percent of Republicans said they are very interested.
- 52 percent of Democrats said they are very interested.
- And 51 percent of political independents said they are very interested.
Jones did not break out Salt Lake City voters, but did break out Salt Lake County voters. Most county residents live in cities, which have elections of some kind this year.
Among Salt Lake County voters, 49 percent said they are very interested, 12 percent said they are neutral, and 14 percent said they are not interested in their city elections at all.
In Salt Lake City, said Mansell, if you are a registered voter you will soon be getting a mail-in ballot, with a stamped return envelope. You can go hereto ask questions and get information.
Voters in other cities should call their local city recorder to get voting instructions in their municipalities.
Jones polled 601 adults statewide from June 2-8; the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.