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this year's election is unique in utah
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Political analysts: what stands out with this year’s election

(Scott G WInterton, Deseret News, file)

SALT LAKE CITY — The mid-term elections are only five days away and some political analysts say there are several reasons why this year’s election stands out from previous years.

While the rest of the country may focus more on which party will have control of Congress after this year’s election, Hinckley Institute of Politics Director Jason Perry believes people in Utah will be drawn to vote more by the ballot initiatives than the candidates, themselves.

“It’s very important that people are showing up for these [initiatives] because they will also be voting for candidates.  It’s going to have an impact and that is absolutely unique this year,” Perry says.

There are three constitutional amendments on this year’s ballot, one non-binding question about a potential gas tax and three other propositions that people will vote on.  The issue that created the most buzz is the medical marijuana initiative Prop 2, even though it’s going to be replaced by the Utah Medical Cannabis Act.  Perry says if the initiative wins big or loses big, that could have a big impact on medical cannabis laws in Utah.

He says, “That is going to inform our legislature about how much they can tweak this particular proposition.  So, this is unique to us that we’ll be voting on something that will not survive.”

As for which is the hottest race in Utah, Perry says, without question, it’s the 4th Congressional District Race between Representative Mia Love and Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams.  He says that race got bitter, quickly, with each party accusing the other of lying about Love’s campaign donations.

“These are not candidates fighting against unknown opponents.  These people knew their opponent very well, they knew exactly what their weaknesses were and they went straight for them,” Perry says.

Perry believes it’s easier to attack candidates who have been in public service compared to a newcomer.

“They have a long history.  They’ve done things that people like and they’ve both done things people don’t like.  Because of that, it’s very easy to go after each other,” he adds.

Of course, ballots can change depending on where you live, so, Perry says everyone should contact their county clerk to get ballot information specific to them.

Look for a full guide to all of the initiatives on the Utah ballot as well as how and where to vote on our website.