- Associated Press - Monday, March 3, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A Utah lawmaker wants to make sure the state’s small towns don’t forget to hold elections.

The proposal from Jon Cox, R-Ephraim, comes after a community of 275 in the mountains near Salt Lake City missed its November election.

Cox doesn’t suspect crookedness in that case, but says the state should discourage any chance of future election flubs.

When officials forget to share the necessary dates and materials with voters, Cox said, “the remedy is the people in elected office just stay in elected office.” He added, “there’s sort of a perverse incentive here.”

The November ordeal was the second time Wallsburg forgot to print and publicize ballots. Officials have said forgetfulness, not foul play, was to blame.

Under Cox’s proposal, either a county office or the lieutenant governor would schedule make-up elections in the case of missed ones. But the town would still be on the hook for related costs.

Brent Titcomb, the Wasatch County clerk, said that nearing the November election, Wallsburg officials called the county office for advice after they failed to notify residents of the upcoming election.

Wallsburg doesn’t have paid staff or a website, and town officials could not immediately be reached by The Associated Press on Monday.

Mayor Jay Hortin is an electrician, his father Frank Hortin said in November. Frank Hortin guessed that few residents would have wanted to be on the ballot anyway.

Wallsburg sits a mile high in the Wasatch Mountains, 4 miles from Deer Creek Reservoir. In winter, there’s only one way in and out of town. It was incorporated in 1917, according to the Utah League of Cities and Towns.

Lawmakers in a committee meeting on Monday said they understand it can be tough for tiny towns to stay on top of elections schedules. They said it’s important not to impose penalties on municipalities who miss election deadlines.

The House committee voted unanimously to approve the bill Monday. It awaits a vote in the full House.

The measure must also be approved by the Senate and signed by the governor to become law.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide