SALT LAKE CITY — Two people running to represent District 3 in Morgan County still don’t know who won the primary race.
But Cindy Carter and her opponent Jared Anderson, will likely know in just a few days. The trouble hasn’t been questionable ballots or missing ballots.
The trouble was a tie. Carter and Anderson each received 541 votes.
“It’s a little crazy,” Cindy Carter told KSL Newsradio. “I think it’s par for 2020, isn’t it?”
Utah law dictates procedure when there is a tie in a primary election for county office. Section 20A-9-403 of the Utah Code, which stipulates rules for regular primary elections, says that “when a tie vote occurs in any primary election for any county office, the district court judges of the district in which the county is located shall, at a public meeting called by the judges and in the presence of the candidates involved, select the nominee by lot cast in whatever manner the judges determine.”
In other words, the winner of the primary election for District 3 in Morgan County will be determined by a coin toss. Or something like it.
The lot drawing was originally planned for Monday afternoon, but Presiding Judge David Connor determined that the period for a recount hadn’t yet passed. That deadline is Tuesday July 28, at 5 p.m.
Carter thinks a couple of things led to a tie between herself and her opponent.
“Morgan changed its form of government,” she said. “It used to have seven [non-partisan] council members.” A change in Utah law meant that counties had to choose between several forms of government which were all partisan based. Carter says that change may have affected the number of people voting in the recent primary.
“A lot of Morgan [County] was registered as Independent, neither Democratic or Republican,” Carter said.
“Our clerks did an amazing job of sending information out to everyone to tell them they had to register as a Republican or a Democrat. But people physically had to mail that in. A lot of people didn’t,” Carter said.
And then there was COVID-19. Carter says that Morgan County residents who were out of the country serving missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were not able to vote because the country they were in shut down their postal system.
Neither Carter nor Anderson has requested a recount. At 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 28th, the amount of time legally required to allow for such a request will have passed.
Contributing: Simone Seikaly