Even though this is one of the most significant election years of the decade, with tax-cutting initiatives, the governor's race and the presidential selection all on the ballot in November, the primary election Tuesday will be a sleeper.
County clerks expect a small voter turnout Tuesday, much less than the 37 percent in 1984 when the Republican and Democratic parties had primary battles in the governor's race.Unlike four years ago, there is no statewide primary this year. All parties in their state conventions nominated only one candidate for the U.S. Senate, governor, lieutenant governor, auditor, treasurer and attorney general races.
The only federal primary is between Democrats Bob Stringham and Craig Oliver in the heavily Republican 3rd Congressional District, which comprises Utah County, southwest Salt Lake County and most of eastern Utah. The winner there faces Rep. Howard Nielson, R-Utah, who leads both of them in head-to-head poll match-ups.
The latest Deseret News/KSL-TV poll conducted by Dan Jones & Associates shows Oliver and Stringham are neck-and-neck. Jones found that 18 percent of those questioned favor Oliver, 18 percent favor Stringham, 1 percent favor someone else and 63 percent are undecided.
Other primaries are scattered among state House and Senate races, county commission contests, the State School Board and local school boards.
Where you live dictates whether you have a primary contest or not. Utah is an open-primary state. A voter doesn't proclaim whether he is a Republican or Democrat, and each ballot has all party primaries on it.
Davis County has a GOP commission primary between Dub Lawrence and Commissioner Harold J. Tippetts, a county clerk race between Republicans Margene Isom and Glen E. Saunders and three non-partisan Davis School Board primaries.
Utah County has the 3rd Congressional District Democratic primary and part of the county has a non-partisan State Board of Education District 8 primary.
Weber County has a State Board of Education District 2 primary. Ogden residents have a $10 million Ogden School District bond on the primary ballot.
The southwestern part of Salt Lake County also has the 3rd District Democratic congressional primary, since the 3rd District includes that part of the county. In Salt Lake County there are also primaries in state Senate districts 2, 5 and 8 and state House districts 22, 28, 29, 31, 32, 35, 47, 49 and 53. State Board of Education District 4 also has a primary, as do Salt Lake City School Board districts 1, 3, 5 and 7; Murray School Board District 5; and Granite School Board districts 1 and 3.
Sunday's Deseret News included a listing, by voting districts, of where the Salt Lake primary polls are located. Polls throughout the state are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.