POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Uncontested: We already know who will win these races

Nov 3, 2022, 6:00 AM | Updated: Nov 4, 2022, 9:18 am

State leaders say the Utah election security system is strong....

A ballot drop box is pictured outside of the Davis County Library's South Davis Branch in Bountiful on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. Utah leaders say the state's election security system is strong. But how does Utah make sure its elections are secure? (Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Normally, newsrooms have strict rules about when to call an election for one candidate or another. But in the elections scheduled to take place on Nov. 8, that job will be somewhat easier, at least when it comes to the more than 200 uncontested races on Utah ballots. 

KSL combed through the ballots and candidate information, including write-in candidates, from the office of the Utah lieutenant governor, who oversees elections in the state. In all, we counted 202 races with just one candidate listed on the ballot. 

Those uncontested races included 33 legislative seats — 28 in the Utah House; 5 in the Senate. They included 3 state school board seats. And they included a number of county-level offices, including sheriffs, county clerks, commissioners, and auditors, as well as seats on local school boards. 

Not a single one of the counties in Utah could say it boasts a ballot with no uncontested races. Three, Rich, Sevier and Beaver, only feature uncontested races. In many counties, the only reason why some races have more than one choice is because someone is running a write-in campaign. (Utah candidates wishing to run as write-in candidates must declare their candidacy under state law.)  

The phenomenon does not appear to be unique to Utah. From Connecticut to North Carolina to Colorado and beyond, voters in many states may find the choices on their ballots this fall limited. In Michigan, one county clerk told WILX-TV while most election years feature uncontested races, he’s never seen this many at once

Utah voters may postmark their mail-in ballots by Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, or vote in-person on Election Day. Polls close Tuesday at 8 p.m.

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Uncontested: We already know who will win these races