Utah

Articles about voting issues in Utah.

Utah: Legislature enacts widespread election law changes, including Election-Day registration | The Salt Lake Tribune

The Legislature approved sweeping changes to Utah’s elections and voter registration laws that supporters say will ensure that people like Gerardo Navarro’s vote counts in November. Navarro was at state offices in Draper recently, renewing his driver license, but didn’t notice a box that asked him if he’d like to update his voter registration. Navarro’s not alone. One in three eligible voters didn’t check the box to update his or her registration in 2016, according to county clerks who spoke in favor of registering voters automatically when they interact with the Driver License Division. “A lot of people think that because they got their driver license they were registered,” said Weber County Clerk Auditor Ricky Hatch. “A lot of voters would come in, like in 2016, and say I’m registered,” try to vote, and find out they weren’t. Not only will they be more likely to be registered under HB218, which passed on Wednesday, those who were eligible and tried to vote on Election Day but weren’t registered will be able to do so in the next election.

Full Article: Do you want to register to vote? Utah enacts widespread election law changes, including Election-Day registration. Here are all the changes - The Salt Lake Tribune.

Utah: House panel endorses bill to thwart GOP candidate nomination rule | Deseret News

Legislation aimed to thwart a newly passed Utah Republican Party rule threatening to expel candidates who gather signatures to get on the primary election ballot passed a House committee Monday. HB485 would ensure that candidates who have already filed for office would be allowed on the 2018 primary ballot. The measure would ensure that candidates can be on the ballot with their party affiliation, Rep. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, told the House Business and Labor Committee. “We want clarity for this election,” he said. “We want candidates who decided to gather signatures and/or go to convention to feel comfortable with their decision, maintain the status quo.” The committee endorsed the bill 9-3, sending it to the full House for consideration.

Full Article: House panel endorses bill to thwart GOP candidate nomination rule | Deseret News.

Utah: San Juan County asks courts to pause redistricting that would give more political power to Navajo voters | The Salt Lake Tribune

San Juan County officials are trying to halt a federal judge’s decision to redraw voting district boundaries that would give Navajos more political power in the county. Lawyers for the county made their case in an emergency motion filed Tuesday in the United States’ 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. They objected to special elections being held this year and requested that the elections continue under the previous redistricting plan until the appeal has been decided. In his Dec. 21 ruling, U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby gave Navajo voters a majority in two of three commission districts and three of five school board districts. Shelby had ordered that all seats be vacated and that special elections be held in November.

Full Article: San Juan County asks courts to pause redistricting that would give more political power to Navajo voters - The Salt Lake Tribune.

Utah: Navajos make deal with San Juan County to end voting-rights lawsuit | The Salt Lake Tribune

A federal lawsuit saying San Juan County does not provide equal voting opportunities to Navajos has been settled less than a month before it was to go to trial. The two sides filed a joint motion Tuesday that listed the settlement’s terms — which include language assistance for Navajos at the polls — and asked U.S. District Judge Jill Parrish to dismiss the suit. The bench trial was to begin March 16. The measures will be in place for the 2018 elections. The ACLU of Utah says that according to the 2016 U.S. Census, 4,314 of the 10,275 adult citizen residents of San Juan County speak a language other than English or Spanish — primarily Navajo — with 766 of these residents, or 18 percent, also speaking English less than “very well.”

Full Article: Navajos make deal with San Juan County to end voting-rights lawsuit - The Salt Lake Tribune.

Utah: Settlement announced to create equal opportunities for Navajo voters | KUTV

A lawsuit was settled Wednesday regarding plaintiffs’ claims that San Juan County did not provide effective language assistance to Navajo-speaking voters and that Navajo voters had unequal voting opportunities in the county. The lawsuit originated in early 2016 over San Juan County’s decision to switch to a vote-by-mail system and offer in-person voting in only one place located in the majority-white section of the county.

Full Article: Settlement announced to create equal opportunities for Navajo voters | KUTV.

Utah: Two bills to significantly affect voting in Utah | Deseret News

The House Government Operations Committee approved two bills Wednesday that may drastically affect voting in Utah. HB35, sponsored by Rep. Marc Roberts, R-Salem, would create a pilot program that will make it an option to implement rank-choice and approval forms of voting in certain nonpartisan municipal elections. In rank-choice voting, the voter ranks multiple candidates for one seat from most favorable to least favorable with a numbering system. Approval voting differs from rank-choice voting in that voters mark the candidates they approve and leave the others blank.

Full Article: Two bills to significantly affect voting in Utah | Deseret News.

Utah: Expanding the right to vote past heads of households was a ‘grave mistake,’ writes Davis County Republican precinct chairman | The Salt Lake Tribune

Expanding voting rights to those who aren’t heads of households was a “grave mistake,” a GOP precinct chairman from Davis County wrote in a Sunday morning Facebook post. “The more I study history the more I think giving voting rights to others not head of household has been a grave mistake!” Casey Fisher posted on Facebook Sunday morning. Fisher did not respond to a request for comment Monday evening.

Full Article: Expanding the right to vote past heads of households was a ‘grave mistake,’ writes Davis County Republican precinct chairman - The Salt Lake Tribune.

Utah: For Native Americans, a ‘Historic Moment’ on the Path to Power at the Ballot Box | The New York Times

In this county of desert and sagebrush, Wilfred Jones has spent a lifetime angered by what his people are missing. Running water, for one. Electricity, for another. But worst of all, in his view, is that the Navajo people here lack adequate political representation. So Mr. Jones sued, and in late December, after a federal judge ruled that San Juan County’s longtime practice of packing Navajo voters into one voting district violated the United States Constitution, the county was ordered to draw new district lines for local elections. The move could allow Navajo people to win two of three county commission seats for the first time, overturning more than a century of political domination by white residents. And the shift here is part of an escalating battle over Native American enfranchisement, one that comes amid a larger wave of voting rights movements spreading across the country.

Full Article: For Native Americans, a ‘Historic Moment’ on the Path to Power at the Ballot Box - The New York Times.

Utah: Once again, Utah lawmakers try to eliminate straight ticket voting | KSTU

Rep. Bruce Cutler proudly describes himself as a Republican and a fiscal conservative. But he believes that’s not necessarily why you should vote for him. “I hate labels. I’m not one to like labels,” the state representative from Murray told FOX 13 recently. It’s partly why he’s proposing a bill in the 2018 legislative session that would eliminate straight ticket voting in Utah. “I just think that people need to vote for the person rather than the party. We’ve seen this on the national level,” he said, referring to the recent Alabama senate race involving Roy Moore, who faced accusations of sexual misconduct involving girls. (Rep. Cutler added he would not support Moore.)

Full Article: Once again, Utah lawmakers try to eliminate straight ticket voting | fox13now.com.

Utah: San Juan County Wants To Appeal Navajo Voting Rights Ruling | KUER

San Juan County is asking a federal court to finalize a recent decision on voting districts. County leaders want to appeal the ruling, as the county’s Native American majority applauds it. U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby issued his decision a few days before Christmas. It basically requires San Juan County to hold a special election next year using new district boundaries for three commission seats and five school board posts. And it’s aimed at reflecting the Navajo majority. “People are very excited,” says Mark Maryboy, who was talking about the decision with other Navajos on Wednesday in Monument Valley. “They want to try to get some Navajo candidates to run for the county commission, school board and other county positions.”

Full Article: San Juan County Wants To Appeal Navajo Voting Rights Ruling | KUER 90.1.

Utah: New Voting Districts Drawn in Native Discrimination Suit | Associated Press

A federal judge has handed down new voting districts to replace those declared discriminatory against American Indian voters in southeastern Utah, but a prominent county commissioner said Friday that the county plans to appeal. The new election districts are designed to give an equal voice in local races to native residents who make up about half the population. Mark Maryboy called them a well-deserved victory that comes after a half century of struggle. “It means a great socio-economic development for the Navajo people in San Juan County,” said Maryboy, who is Navajo and a former county commissioner. “Navajos make better county officials. I don’t think Navajos will discriminate against the white county population.”

Full Article: New Voting Districts Drawn in Native Discrimination Suit | Utah News | US News.

Utah: Errors led to rejection of thousands of votes in this month’s Utah elections | The Salt Lake Tribune

Did you hear the one about the hundreds of Utah County residents whose votes were rejected because they mailed them too late, forgot to sign them, sent in envelopes with no ballots or even tried casting votes for dead people? It’s no joke. All of that really happened, according to the state canvass of the special 3rd District Congressional election. That final official vote count occurred Monday, even though winning Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, was sworn into office two weeks ago. State Auditor John Dougall — who along with the state treasurer, attorney general and lieutenant governor form the Board of Canvassers — requested data about why any votes were rejected.

Full Article: Errors led to rejection of thousands of votes in this month's Utah elections - The Salt Lake Tribune.

Utah: Judge is poised to ‘adjust gerrymandering with gerrymandering,’ giving Navajos an edge in southern Utah county | The Salt Lake Tribune

History may be in the making in San Juan County this week when a judge holds hearings that could place the Navajo community in the political driver’s seat — a stark departure from the past century dominated by Anglos. On Thursday, federal Judge Robert Shelby will hold public hearings in Monticello at 10:30 a.m. and Bluff at 3:30 p.m. regarding several map proposals — all of which most likely would lead to Navajos holding majorities on the two most powerful government bodies in the county.

Full Article: Judge is poised to ‘adjust gerrymandering with gerrymandering,’ giving Navajos an edge in southern Utah county - The Salt Lake Tribune.

Utah: Elections office fills in blank ovals on ballots | Daily Herald

While this year’s elections have seen some interesting twists, one of the most problematic could be the printed stickers used by those voting for Provo mayoral write-in candidate, Odell Miner. In a generous move, Miner had transparent stickers printed with his name and a filled-in voting oval or bubble to affix to the mail-in ballot in the hopes of making things easier for those voting for him. Bryan Thompson, Utah County clerk/auditor, was uneasy about Miner using the stickers in case a reading machine got jammed or had some other problem. However, Thompson said he couldn’t stop Miner from doing it either. “I told Odell you may not see all of your count,” Thompson said.

Full Article: Elections office fills in blank ovals on ballots | Provo News | heraldextra.com.

Utah: Utah County makes changes to avoid vote-by-mail glitches faced in primary | Daily Herald

It’s no secret that Utah County faced some issues during its first foray into an all vote-by-mail election during the August primary, but the county is taking steps to make sure the general election goes more smoothly. The issues started when 60,000 ballots were sent to unaffiliated voters in the county, mistakenly containing the option to vote in the Republican primary for the 3rd Congressional District Race. Then final results were drawn out, with the fourth and final batch of election results being released more than a week after the primary election on Aug. 15.

Full Article: Utah County makes changes to avoid vote-by-mail glitches faced in primary | Local Elections | heraldextra.com.

Utah: Voter Rolls Lawsuit Still Active, Even If Trump’s Fraud Commission Isn’t | KUER

A lawsuit over Utah’s voter rolls is still up in the air — and so might President Trump’s voter fraud commission that requested the data in the first place. President Trump created the Election Integrity Commission at the beginning of his term to investigate unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud during the election — costing him the popular vote, so he claimed. That led to a blanket request to all 50 states for their voting rolls, including more sensitive data such as birth dates and voting history.

Full Article: Utah Voter Rolls Lawsuit Still Active, Even If Trump's Election Fraud Commission Isn't | KUER 90.1.

Utah: Navajo case challenging Utah mail-in ballots heads to trial | Santa Fe New Mexican

A lawsuit filed by members of the Navajo Nation who say mail-in voting in southern Utah disenfranchises tribal voters is headed for trial. U.S. District Judge Jill Parrish set a March 16 trial date Thursday in the case filed by the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission and the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah. Mail-in ballots are harder for Navajo voters to receive because many don’t have mailboxes and can be difficult to use for people who speak Navajo, said John Mejia with the ACLU.

Full Article: Navajo case challenging Utah mail-in ballots heads to trial | Local News | santafenewmexican.com.

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.

Full Article: Records committee: A.G. opinion on special election to replace Chaffetz should be public | Deseret News.

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.

Full Article: Gov. Herbert wishes GOP would drop lawsuit challenging new election law - The Salt Lake Tribune.

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.

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