POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Uncontested races in Utah: Why are there so many?

Nov 4, 2022, 9:17 AM | Updated: 11:50 am

Images of ballots. A judicial review committee says that Utah voters too often leave blank their vo...

Ballots are processed at the Weber County Elections Office in Ogden on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022. (Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Right now across Utah, there are 166 county, 33 legislative, and three state school board candidates running uncontested on ballots. There are over 200 uncontested candidates in all. 

Why is this happening?

According to University of Utah Professor of Political Science Matthew Burbank, at least one reason is party majorities.

Burbank said party majorities repel voters, or even candidates thinking of running for office.

But Burbank said that’s only part of the frustration.

“We’re looking at candidates in races and trying to figure out ‘ok what is this person saying is important to them as a candidate and how does that fit with my view?'”

A lack of options can also lead to pessimism toward elections, according to Burbank.

Vetting the candidates helps citizens feel a sense of control, and really works to provide the best good for their communities. Without more options, there’s a feeling that communities go unheard, and that incumbents are less accountable.

He said anyone interested in running for office should just take the leap and do it.

Election Day is Nov. 8.

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Uncontested races in Utah: Why are there so many?