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Here are the crib notes you need to understand Utah’s June primary

As ballots hit mailboxes in the first week of June, Utah voters face some consequential decisions in races like governor and U.S. Senate. Victorious candidates in the June 25 primary will advance to the Nov. 5 general election.
Sean Higgins
As ballots hit mailboxes in the first week of June, Utah voters face some consequential decisions in races like governor and U.S. Senate. Victorious candidates in the June 25 primary will advance to the Nov. 5 general election.

Utah ballots are in the mail for the primary election on June 25. The primary is a consequential one for Utah.

As Utah is majority Republican, GOP nominees will be decided for statewide races like governor and U.S. Senator, as well as three out of four congressional districts.

“A lot of races in Utah are going to be decided at the primary,” said Mormon Women for Ethical Government Utah Chapter co-coordinator Melarie Wheat. “There are some races that don't even have another challenger on the ballot in the fall. It's only Republicans on some of them. So if you really want a voice and a say in who's going to be your representative, now is the time to start paying attention.”

The biggest races

Gov. Spencer Cox faces state Rep. Phil Lyman in the GOP primary for Utah’s highest office.

While Lyman handily won April’s state nominating convention, Cox chose to gather signatures to ensure his appearance on the primary ballot. Even with strong delegate support, Lyman faces a popular incumbent. An April 29 poll by Noble Predictive Insights showed Cox with 81% support among Republican voters who have already made up their minds on who they want to vote for.

The other big question for Utah Republicans is who will replace retiring Sen. Mitt Romney?

Former President Donald Trump’s endorsement of Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs at the nominating convention made this a four-way race. Staggs joined Rep. John Curtis, former Utah Speaker of the House Brad Wilson and businessman Jason Walton, who all gathered signatures.

There’s also an open seat in Congress in the 3rd Congressional District after Curtis chose to run for Senate. Five candidates are in that primary with Roosevelt Mayor JR Bird, Utah State Auditor John Dougall, State Senator Mike Kennedy, entrepreneur Case Lawrence and attorney and military veteran Stewart Peay all vying for Republicans’ support.

There’s some intrigue in the 2nd Congressional District as Rep. Celeste Maloy faces a strong challenge from businessman and military veteran Colby Jenkins, who snagged an influential endorsement from Sen. Mike Lee.

In Utah’s 1st Congressional District, Rep. Blake Moore will face Paul Miller.

After Attorney General Sean Reyes announced he would not seek another term in office, the post of Utah’s highest law enforcement officer is up for grabs. That’s a three-way race between attorney, former state lawmaker and Utah GOP Chair Derek Brown, attorney Frank Mylar and Rachel Terry, an attorney and director of the Utah Division of Risk Management.

Rep. Burgess Owens is unopposed for the GOP nomination in Utah’s 4th Congressional District.

What about the Democrats?

There are a few Democratic primaries on June 25, but they are for local races in the Legislature and county-level seats.

Democrats already selected their candidates for the governor’s race and U.S. Senate at their party nominating convention in April. Those candidates will appear on ballots in November’s general election.

State Rep. Brian King secured the nomination for governor and pro skier and climate activist Caroline Gleich got the nod for Senate.

Registered Democrats who live in a district holding a primary will receive a ballot in the mail. Democrats also hold an open primary, which means unaffiliated voters can also request a Democratic ballot if they choose.

Republicans, however, hold a closed primary, meaning only registered Republicans can participate. The deadline to change party affiliation, which has already passed, was Jan. 9.

Have you gotten your ballot yet?

People can check their voter status at the state elections website. If you are not registered, you can do that online or at your county clerk’s office. The deadline to register for the primary is June 14, but those who miss that deadline can also register in person at an early voting site or polling location on Election Day, June 25. You will need two acceptable forms of identification to do so.

If you are registered and have not received a ballot, confirm that your address is current by looking up your voter information. The last day to request a mail-in ballot is June 18.

This election is going to have a significant impact on the state,” said Davis County Clerk Brian McKenzie.

“The most important thing for voters is to make sure their registration is current, up to date, that they watch for those ballots in the mail and that they get those ballots returned either in the mail, at a dropbox or if they want to plan for Election Day, to show up and vote as well.”

Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Monday, June 24 or put in an official ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on June 25 to be counted.

Voters with additional questions are encouraged to reach out to their county clerk’s office.

Sean is KUER’s politics reporter.
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