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Election Date Set

Lt. Gov. lines up schedule for Chaffetz' replacement election.


  • Enrique Limón

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox says his office gets sued a lot.

He was sued, for example, by the Utah Republican Party claiming that the requirement, outlined in Senate Bill 54 regarding the number of signatures to appear on the ballot, was too onerous.

So don’t act too surprised if his office is sued again over the upcoming election to fill Rep. Jason Chaffetz’ soon-to-be-empty seat.

“We understand those threats of litigation are out there,” he said Friday at a press conference announcing the election timeline. “Again, our job is to run an election, and the attorneys will deal with anything that comes together.”

Grasping for more control, many legislators wanted the governor to call a special session so they could iron out the election process, but the governor instead ordered the state’s election office, which Cox oversees, to call for an election and press forward with a timeline.

That timeline is structured to match with municipal elections. The primary is scheduled Aug. 15, and the general election is Nov. 7. Candidates began filing for the position Friday at 1 p.m. and can continue until 5 p.m. May 26.

Parties can hold their conventions up until June 18 and forward on the candidate or candidates that make it through that process. Candidates who choose to gather signatures have until noon on June 12 to submit about 7,000 signatures from registered party members.

“That’s a tall order in a short amount of time,” Cox said.

Ballots will be printed out June 30 to go to military and overseas voters. Then the primaries for this seat will align with municipal elections that will be taking place throughout the state.

City Weekly plans to cover the candidates in the coming weeks.

Alliance for a Better Utah commended the lieutenant governor’s office.

“While we are still reviewing the timeline and any impacts it may have on voter participation, we are grateful the Lt. Governor laid out a process mirroring existing election law and preserving the SB54 compromise,” policy and advocacy counsel Chase Thomas said in a statement.

Chaffetz was first elected to the seat in 2008. After announcing he wasn’t going to run for reelection in 2018, Chaffetz let the state know on Thursday that he would be stepping down on June 30 to spend more time with his family.