Transition of power for the 2020 elections


FILE – In this March 22, 2019 file photo, an American flag flies outside the Department of Justice in Washington. The Department of Justice says in a statement that hackers have been attempting to obtain intellectual property and public health data related to vaccines, treatments, and testing. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Utah (ABC4 News) — As winners of the 2020 elections have been announced and races continue to be called, many Utahns are wondering when a transition of power will take place allowing these new leaders to officially take over.

A transition of power is a concept important to all types of governments. A transition of power happens when a new leader hands over controls to the newly elected leadership.

Utah has had many close elections, some of which haven’t been called yet

One of Utah’s biggest races was for Governor. The race was between current Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox (R) and Law Professor Chris Peterson (D). Spencer Cox won the race and Peterson conceded.

Officials with Gov. Herbert’s office tell ABC4 News Gov. Herbert will keep responsibility until Jan. 1, 2021; at that point, responsibility transitions to Governor-elect Spencer Cox.

Even though Governor-elect Cox will not be inaugurated until Jan. 4, 2021, he will still assume responsibility on Jan. 1.

The race for Salt Lake County Mayor has yet to be called. The race is between current Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson and Trent Staggs. 

According to the Salt Lake County Mayor’s Office, there is no formal policy regarding executive or legislative transition, and say they follow historical practices.

In the past, following the final canvass, the Mayor-elect has been put on as a temporary employee with a staff member (or two) to begin coming up to speed on County programs and processes and to serve as the Mayor-elect’s transition team.

Council Members have also been brought on as temporary employees and, as a courtesy, have been invited to sit in on budget deliberations to facilitate an understanding of the pending budget.

While these practices are not memorialized in policy, the Council has repeatedly endorsed the approach, officials with the mayor’s office told ABC4 News. 

Whoever the leader or position a transition of power occurs when it comes time for the newly elect to take over.

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Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...