Delegates May Choose Council Seat Winners, Not Voters, In November

Mar 25, 2020

Credit Summit County Democrats

The campaign window for the four Summit County democratic candidates starts Wednesday and could end on April 2 with the county convention. In Tuesday’s caucus, 82 precinct delegates were elected and instead of a general election, they could decide who wins at the county convention.

Utah’s caucus system requires that delegates select their party candidate at the county convention. The two seats up for election in November are uncontested by republican candidates. Therefore, whomever wins more than 60% of the precinct delegate votes on April 2, wins the election. If the candidate doesn’t get 60% support, it goes to a primary election on June 30.

Seat A is a contest between incumbent Roger Armstrong and Jill Fellow. Seat C is being vacated by Kim Carson, the only female on the five-person county council.  Two current Summit County Planning Commissioners, Malena Stevens and Canice Hart are vying for her seat. Doug Clyde’s seat B is also up for re-election but there are no contenders for his position which covers eastern Summit County.

The Summit County Democratic party held a virtual caucus on Tuesday, sending out 3000 text messages explaining the change and asking people to participate. They had over 400 people register and more than 340 voted for delegates to represent most of the 45 precincts.

Summit County Democratic Party Chair Merideth Reed says they worked hours to pull it all together. Participants called in, gave a PIN and neighborhood precinct number, and cast a ranked vote for the delegates.  She says some neighborhoods had as many as 9 people register to be a county delegate.

“An incredible turn-out given a normal year and especially given our situation with social distancing and trying to come up with creative solutions to the situations we all find ourselves in today.”

They don’t know how the county convention will be held considering the social distancing regulations and the state-wide cancellation of events.

“We are waiting for further guidance from the rules committee from the state party but currently we cannot do the county convention the same way we did the caucus. And, we're looking at having drop boxes for paper ballots right now, but I don't have the final details on that.”

Voters will not have a say in the two contested council seats unless it goes to the primary election on June 30.  They can however reach out to their precinct delegates and express their preferences. Delegate’s names and contact information can be found on scdems.org.

In place of a county convention this year, on April 1, delegates will receive an email from the Summit County Democratic Party with a printable ballot which will be dropped at a location not yet determined.