Articles about voting issues in Utah.

Utah: Records committee: Attorney General opinion on special election should be public | Deseret News

A legal opinion sought by the Utah Legislature about the special election to fill former Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s seat in Congress should be made public, the State Records Committee determined Thursday. Attorney General Sean Reyes’ office wrote an opinion but withheld it from the public, citing an ethical concern over a potential conflict of interest with Gov. Gary Herbert and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who set up the special election over protests from lawmakers. The opinion was a key point in the dispute earlier this year between both Republican and Democratic lawmakers and the GOP governor over who should have established the process for the special election for the remaining year of Chaffetz’s term. Read More

Utah: Governor wishes GOP would drop lawsuit challenging new election law | The Salt Lake Tribune

Gov. Gary Herbert wished aloud Thursday that the Utah Republican Party would drop its lawsuit challenging the state’s new election law, which is driving a wedge between the party’s right wing and moderates. But he concedes that maneuvering by conservatives has probably successfully forced party leaders to proceed against his wishes — and their own. When asked at his monthly KUED news conference if the GOP should drop the lawsuit, Herbert said, “They would be wise to do that.” The suit challenges SB54, which allows candidates to qualify for a primary election by collecting signatures and/or the traditional caucus-convention system. Read More

Utah: Suit over vote-by-mail procedures in San Juan County is headed to trial | The Salt Lake Tribune

After recent rulings by a federal judge, a lawsuit that alleges San Juan County does not provide effective language assistance and equal voting opportunities to Navajos will go to trial. The Navajo Human Rights Commission and seven members of the Navajo Nation filed suit in February 2016 claiming San Juan County had violated the federal Voting Rights Act by closing polling places ahead of the 2014 election and moving toward a mail-only voting system, hindering access to the ballot box. The defendants — San Juan County, Clerk John David Nielson, and county Commissioners Phil Lyman, Bruce Adams and Rebecca Benally — filed a counterclaim against the plaintiffs, alleging the suit is based on fabricated claims and seeking a declaration that the voting procedures comply with the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution. Read More

Utah: Voting rights lawsuit over Navajo voting rights in San Juan County to advance to trial | Utah policy

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Jill Parrish issued a decision in Navajo Nation Human Rights Council v. San Juan County, et al, allowing the lawsuit to proceed to a trial on the merits of the plaintiffs’ claims that San Juan County is not providing effective language assistance to Navajo-speaking voters and is providing unequal voting opportunities to Navajo voters. The plaintiffs, the Navajo Nation Human Rights Council and several individual members of the Navajo Nation, are represented by counsel from DLA Piper, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, ACLU of Utah, and the ACLU Voting Rights Project. In the lawsuit, plaintiffs challenged San Juan County’s decision to switch to a mail-only voting system and offer in-person early voting only in the majority white part of the County.  After plaintiffs sued in early 2016, the County announced it would reopen a limited number of polling places for election day voting and in future elections. Plaintiffs continue to assert that the County is violating the federal Voting Rights Act and the United States Constitution. Read More

Utah: Judge won’t toss lawsuit over vote-by-mail in San Juan County | KSTU

A federal judge has issued a split ruling in a lawsuit filed over vote-by-mail in Utah’s largest county. The Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission, backed by the ACLU of Utah, sued San Juan County over its decision to switch to vote-by-mail. They argue a reduced number of polling places burdens Navajo voters, who have to drive hours to vote. Navajo is also an unwritten language making vote-by-mail more difficult. Read More

Utah: Count My Vote may take initiatve to the ballot because of constant efforts to dismantle SB54 | Utah Policy

The organizers behind Count My Vote say they’re encouraged the SB54 compromise worked beautifully in the recent GOP 3rd CD primary election. But, the ongoing effort to undo that agreement may push them to take the issue of eliminating the caucus system directly to the people. UtahPolicy.com previously reported that Count My Vote was readying to refile their petition initiative to do away with the caucus/delegate/convention route to the ballot, leaving only a direct primary. Rich McKeown says the constant effort to do away with the legislative compromise has changed the dynamic. “It has been an absolute struggle,” said McKeown. “We have given some thought about taking this to the people. It never went to the people. It was a compromise with the legislature, so that’s the consideration we have. We’re trying to assess the landscape and trying to determine whether to move forward.” Read More

Utah: ‘Count My Vote’ readying 2018 ballot initiative to eliminate caucus/convention system for nominating candidates | Utah Policy

UtahPolicy.com has been told that the group behind Count My Vote has decided to run a citizen initiative petition in 2018 that will do away with the caucus/delegate/convention route for candidates and only allow candidates to get on the primary and general election ballots via gathering voter signatures. When CMV’s 2014 petition was in public discussion, various polls showed a majority of citizens supported the so-called “direct primary” option. Also, UtahPolicy is told the new initiative will say that any vacancy in a partisan office will be filled by special election. Right now it is usually filled by appointment by local party officials. Read More

Utah: County Clerk: Waiting several days for election results may be the new norm | Daily Herald

Vote-by-mail has put a whole new spin on determining election results. Though the Associated Press declared Provo Mayor John Curtis the winner Tuesday night in a three-way Republican primary for the 3rd Congressional District, his opponent Chris Herrod has still not conceded, and thousands of votes wait to be counted in Utah County alone. Dozens of mayoral and city council candidates also await final results to see if they advanced to the general election Nov. 7. Utah County Clerk/Auditor Bryan Thompson says he has had multiple candidates and city officials express frustration with the delay, but more results will likely not be released until Friday. Read More

Utah: Ballot blunder causes confusion at polls | Deseret News

Utah County voters reported continued confusion at the polls Tuesday after more than 68,000 unaffiliated voters received incorrect mail-in primary election ballots. While unaffiliated voters could still cast ballots in the Republican 3rd Congressional District primary race, those who received the incorrect ballot had to bring that ballot to a polling station and choose to affiliate as a Republican to vote in the GOP primary. The situation was confusing for some voters who either discarded the ballot or already sent it in, not knowing their vote in the Republican primary would not be counted unless they went to the polls to affiliate with the party. Utah County elections officials made efforts to correct the issue and clear up confusion by sending out nearly 70,000 mailers, informing those unaffiliated voters that they could bring their ballots to the polls, affiliate with the Republican Party and cast a vote in the 3rd District race. Read More

Utah: Residents Help Officials Vet New Voting Machines | Associated Press

Utah election officials at the Capitol brought voters in to test out new voting machines with a goal of finding a system that is secure and quickly counts ballots from counties that do all-mail voting. The voter feedback from Wednesday will help an ongoing state process to choose the best provider of voting equipment for county officials, Utah Director of Elections Mark Thomas said. Vetting should be completed in the next couple of months, Thomas said. The new technology will provide counties with cost benefits, but the Legislature has appropriated only $270,000 toward replacing the machines. Read More