Oct 24, 2022 - Politics

Midterm elections 2022: Voting in Salt Lake City

Illustration of a white podium changing into a voting booth and then changing into three campaign signs, over a divided red and blue background.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Election Day is Nov. 8, but thousands of Utahns have already started to receive their mail-in ballots.

Why it matters: While turnout tends to be lower in the midterms than in a presidential race, your vote could determine how much you pay in taxes and who will represent you in Washington, D.C.

Worth noting: Utah's U.S. Senate election is considered one of the most competitive races the state has seen in nearly half a century.

  • Local races, like the Salt Lake county clerk or sheriff's office, are just as pivotal.

Voting in Utah

  • Election officials began sending registered voters their mail-in ballots earlier this month. If you haven't received your ballot, you can check its status here or contact your county clerk. If you haven't registered to vote, do so by Oct. 28 to get a vote-by-mail ballot.
  • Voters must postmark their ballots by Nov. 7. You can also drop them off at your county clerk's office, a polling location or drop box on Election Day by 8pm.
  • Early voting locations will also be available to in-person voters.

Noteworthy: Same-day voter registration is also available to Utahns if they go to an in-person polling location, but they will need to provide two forms of ID.

U.S. Senate: Evan McMullin (I) vs. Sen. Mike Lee (R)

Photo illustration of Evan McMullin, tinted blue, and Mike Lee, tinted red, separated by a white halftone divider.
Evan McMullin (left) and Mike Lee. Illustration: Axios Visuals. Photos: Larry French/Getty Images for MoveOn.org and Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

This is the hottest race in Utah this year, and it's unusually tight.

  • A Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll released Oct. 10 found Lee had a 4-point lead over McMullin.

State of play: Lee is vying for his third term in the U.S. Senate. Despite the close polling, political scientists have said Lee is the front-runner in the race.

  • McMullin, a former CIA officer, is a conservative who gained the endorsement of the Utah Democratic Party. If his name seems familiar it's because he ran as an independent candidate for the 2016 presidential election, garnering 21.5% of the Utah vote.

Go deeper:

U.S. House races

Utah's four congressional seats aren't competitive under new maps the legislature adopted last year, per analysis by the Princeton Gerrymandering Project.

  • In Salt Lake County, the bulk of Utah's Democratic voters is split into four districts.

District 1: Incumbent Rep. Blake Moore (R) vs. Rick Jones (D)

District 2: Incumbent Rep. Chris Stewart (R) vs. Nick Mitchell (D) vs. Cassie Easley (Constitution)

District 3: Incumbent Rep. John Curtis (R) vs. Glenn Wright (D) vs. Aaron Heineman (Independent American) vs. Daniel Cummings (Constitution)

District 4: Incumbent Rep. Burgess Owens (R) vs. Darlene McDonald (D) vs. January Walker (United Utah)

Key state legislature races

District 69: Southeast Utah, incumbent Rep. Phil Lyman (R) vs. Davina Smith (D)

District 16: Davis County, Trevor Lee (R) vs. Rep. Steve Handy (R, write-in)

District 10: Incumbent Rep. Rosemary Lesser (D) vs. Jill Koford (R)

Salt Lake County races

There are three high-profile races for clerk, a state school board seat and the open at-large seat on the County Council.

District attorney: Longtime D.A. Sim Gill, a Democrat, is facing Danielle Ahn, a recent law school graduate with two years of litigation experience, per her LinkedIn.

  • Ahn says Gill either declines to prosecute or accepts plea deals in too many cases and that has caused crime to rise.
  • Gill says Ahn's promise to reject plea deals for violent offenders is unrealistic, and local Democrats have called her a "MAGA Republican extremist."

Sheriff: Five-year Democratic incumbent Rosie Rivera is facing Nick Roberts (R) to oversee the jail and the Unified Police Department.

  • Roberts, a UPD sergeant, points to three cities that broke from UPD and formed their own police forces in recent years. He also wants to increase incarceration rates.
  • Rivera says jail space should be reserved for violent offenders and is seeking more treatment alternatives in drug cases; local Democrats have criticized Roberts' membership in a right-wing Constitutional Sheriffs group.

Other local questions to watch

Illustration of a pattern of checkmarks that turn into question marks and vice versa, over a red and blue background with a pattern of ballot elements.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Alpine School District: Orem voters are deciding whether to break from Alpine, the state's largest K-12 district, and form their own school district.

  • Proponents say Orem's schools are getting less investment than others in the district and worry the district won't be able to manage rapid growth in northwest Utah County.
  • Opponents — which include the vast majority of Orem teachers and parents in the PTA — say the tax burden would be too high.

Ballot measure

Eligible Salt Lake City voters will get the chance to decide the fate of an $85 million parks and recreation bond measure to add or improve parks, trails and other public spaces in Utah's capital city.

  • The bond would also help support projects from Salt Lake City's public lands master plan, Reimagine Nature.
  • If approved, homeowners of a median-priced Salt Lake City home valued at $576,000 would see an annual $54 property tax increase.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify Ahn's promise is to reject plea deals for violent offenders and that Gill's decisions involving plea deals has caused crime to rise.


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