How the 2018 legislative session impacted elections in Utah


SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – Some significant changes are coming to Utah election law as a result of this year’s legislative session.

From increasing access, to protecting your information, state lawmakers took steps to make sure your vote is counted.

“The legislature, you know, really did a good job making things easier for voters, making things better for election administrators. Should make elections run more smoothly,” said State Director of Elections Justin Lee.

House Bill 218, sponsored by Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck makes several changes.

Among other things, it permanently brings back Election Day registration, simplifies the process to register to vote when applying for, or renewing a driver license and allows counties to offer shorter early voting periods.

Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen says that’s a big one, especially for smaller elections.

“We can offer it, if we want for four days. So, we could have more locations, spread it out, extend the hours and offer it like on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and the Monday before Election Day and make it more productive,” said Swensen.

House Bill 281, sponsored by Representative Joel Briscoe allows 17 year-olds to vote in the primary, if they turn 18 before the general.

“Which makes a lot of sense. If you are going to be able to vote on the ultimate outcome of the race, you can now vote earlier on and decide who gets to that final ballot,” said Lee.

And, Senator Karen Mayne took aim at voter privacy. Senate Bill 74 limits registration to include the month and year of birth, but prohibits the day.

It also allows a voter to request their registration be entirely private.

“If they are already a registered voter they can just make that application, and say I want my record protected. So, it makes it much simpler,” said Swensen.

All three bills easily passed through the legislature with bipartisan support. Governor Herbert is now reviewing them.

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Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

For this Beetdigger and Ute it’s an honor to be doing what he loves in his home state! Glen is an award-winning journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team in June 2013. You can catch him anchoring ABC4 News at 5 and 6, Monday through Friday. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent, keeping you up to date on issues that impact your life at the city, state and national level. His political reports run throughout the week, and he hosts Inside Utah Politics, Sunday mornings at 8. 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...