After Maloy snafu, how to stay off the Utah removable voter list
Jul 6, 2023, 6:30 PM
(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
SALT LAKE CITY — As the dust settles on Celeste Maloy’s voter registration situation, there are some key takeaways for Utah voters, especially those moving out of state who may have been placed on the removable voter list.
Maloy is a GOP convention winner running in Utah’s 2nd Congressional District special election to replace Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah.
She was on a removable voter list on the day she filed her declaration of candidacy leading some to believe she wasn’t a registered Republican. State law prevents her from running in the Republican convention if she’s not affiliated with the party.
If a person is on the removable list, the voter is set to be removed from Utah’s voter rolls. But it doesn’t happen quickly. It takes at least 8 years to be removed, per federal law.
How did Maloy get on the Utah removable voter list?
Most of the time, a person gets on the removable list by moving out of state or by inactivity. Any interaction with the clerks, for example a telephone call or responding to them via email, is enough to make a voter active again.
In Maloy’s case she moved to Virginia and then didn’t vote in two consecutive federal elections with no action taken to change her status. It would have taken another two federal elections, while she was on the removable list before she was completely removed from Utah’s voter rolls.
In fact, Maloy wouldn’t have been removed from Utah’s voter rolls completely until after 2026. And that would be in the unlikely event that Maloy didn’t take any action between now and the Presidential elections of 2024 or the midterms in 2026.
However, someone on the removable list wouldn’t be automatically mailed a ballot in Utah. They could still vote but would have to do it provisionally in person. Voters can have their mail-in ballots sent to an address out of state.
Is being on the Utah removable list considered registered?
Even with public statements from the Lt. Gov. and the legislature on the Maloy situation, this has still not been explicitly stated — members of legislative leadership allege that being on this removable list means that Maloy wasn’t registered. They believe the removable status means that you have to register again in order to vote.
The Lt. Gov. has said that being on the removable list has the “effect of removing an eligible voter” and a removable voter must re-register.
Others argue that Maloy wasn’t yet removed from Utah’s voter rolls and wouldn’t have been removed until 2026. Because of this, when Maloy updated her status one day after the filing deadline she was simply updating her address and becoming an active voter again.
Tips for out-of-state voters
For Utahns who move out of state but want to keep their voter status in Utah, here’s how to stay out of Maloy’s situation. First, keep your registration status current.
“That solves 95% of all problems that you could face as a voter,” said Weber County Clerk Ricky Hatch.
Checking your registration status is simple, visit vote.utah.gov., click on “find my voter registration status,” and enter your information.
There, it will list your mailing address and where your ballot is sent. It will tell you your party affiliation, and your voter status.
‘Active status’ means you’ll automatically be mailed a ballot. ‘Inactive status’ means you won’t automatically be mailed a ballot, in which case you’ll need to update your information.
‘Removable status’ means you’re on track to be removed from Utah’s voter rolls — but again, it takes a while. A fourth option, ‘holding status’ means your registration has been received but not yet processed by your county clerk.
Take any action to remain ‘active’
Another key takeaway, and the way to get off the removable or inactive list, is to take any of the following actions:
- sign a petition, or
- call your county clerk.
Any of these will take you off of the removable or inactive voter lists and signal to Utah clerks that you want to be an active voter again. Clerks are in the business of allowing voting, not preventing it.
“We’re not going to be tough guys about it, said Hatch.
Finally, choose where you want your ballot sent.
If you plan to move, work out of state, or serve a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (and intend to come back) you can change your address and have your ballot sent to your out-of-state address.
“As long as you reasonably expect to [make Utah] your permanent residence then [moving out of state] is not a problem,” Hatch said.