How the 2018 legislative session impacted elections in Utah

Local Politics

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.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


More Podcasts
Inside Utah Politics Logo

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...