Seven file for three Taylorsville City elected posts; 26,000-plus voters to receive mailed ballots in July
Mayor Larry Johnson (left) and City Councilman Dan Armstrong have each filed for re-election. (Carl Fauver)
Gallery: Seven file for three Taylorsville City elected posts; 26,000-plus voters to receive mailed ballots in July [6 Images] Click any image to expand.
By Carl Fauver | email@example.com
Two incumbents want to remain in their positions. A third is retiring from her elected post. One current city council member hopes to replace the mayor. And four political newcomers—two of them under age 25—have also thrown their hats into the ring.
What many expected to be a relatively quiet Taylorsville City municipal election this year, became a bit more interesting when a total of seven candidates filed to run for two council positions and the mayoral post.
Also, because there are three candidates for mayor, a primary election will be necessary, adding tens of thousands of dollars to the total Taylorsville will have to pay Salt Lake County, to conduct the city’s first-ever vote-by-mail municipal election.
In the mayor’s race, first-term incumbent Larry Johnson is seeking re-election. He’s challenged by District 2 City Councilwoman Kristie Overson and BYU political science major Harry Hansen.
In the Council District 4 race, eight-year incumbent Dama Barbour announced months ago she would not seek a third term. Filing for the race to fill her seat are Ron Allred and Meredith Harker, who are each brand-new to campaigning for office.
And in Council District 5, the age difference between the two candidates is 45 years, between incumbent Dan Armstrong and University of Utah student John Fuller.
City Recorder Cheryl Cottle said ballots will be mailed to all registered voters in Taylorsville, starting July 25. As of last fall, that number was 26,097.
Earlier this year, the city council voted to contract with the county to conduct the municipal election at a cost not to exceed $107,950. It was understood if no primary election was required the cost would be significantly less, because only one mailing would be required.
There also would have been some savings if the primary race was for a council seat, because then only residents of that district would receive primary election ballots by mail.
But because the only three-person race is for mayor, city leaders are now expected to pay nearly the entire cost for the county to conduct both the primary and final elections.
Municipal primary election day for cities across Utah is Aug. 15. That will give voters more than two weeks after receiving their ballots by mail to return them with prepaid postage.
Additionally, there will be designated vote centers where residents can drop their ballots off if they don’t want to mail them.
On the November final Election Day, Taylorsville City residents can cast their ballots in person at one of about 40 election centers throughout the Salt Lake Valley.
“The vote-by-mail computer network allows residents of any Salt Lake County municipality to vote at any election center on Election Day,” Cottle said. “It should be much more convenient.”
County Clerk Sherrie Swensen said the shift to vote-by-mail in recent years has led to a sharp increase in voter turnout. Taylorsville City is one of the last municipalities in the county to shift to the format, from the traditional Election Day-only balloting.
Final Election Day is Nov. 7. Taylorsville voters will receive their ballots a couple of weeks ahead of that date in order to have time to consider their selections before returning them.
The Taylorsville candidates represent a wide range in terms of age, political experience and goals for the city.
Harry Hansen (24, single, BYU student) – “My demographic is the most underrepresented in Utah, 18- to 30-year-olds. I feel there is a chance I can win this race; otherwise I wouldn’t run. And even if I don’t (win), I at least want to get my message out and show people how important it is to be involved.”
Larry Johnson (66, married, four children, businessman, incumbent) – “I want to continue moving forward with economic development and cautious tax spending. I’m proud we have not had to raise taxes during my first term. Public safety and beautifying the city also remain top priorities.”
Kristie Overson (59, married, five children, District 2 City Councilwoman) – “I am committed and dependable. People know I will get things done. I hope voters will look at my track record and my ability to reach out. Prior to my time on the city council I was a planning commission member for 11 years.”
Council District 4 Race
Ron Allred (69, married, four children, semi-retired insurance quality reviewer) – “I want to see Taylorsville be a jewel among Salt Lake Valley cities. I am committed to keeping taxes low and helping senior citizens. I hope to serve on the city council as a way of paying back the community.”
Meredith Hawker (40, married, four children, elementary school teacher) – “My priorities include public safety, economic development, transportation alternatives, family-friendly neighborhoods and fiscal responsibility. I would like to see improvements in open space and a city trail system. I believe my experience as a former county and state delegate will also be an asset.”
Council District 5 Race
Dan Armstrong (64, married, seven children, CPA firm owner, incumbent) – “I want to continue the council’s work to beautify Taylorsville and clean up blighted areas. I also like to run a tight fiscal ship and believe we have been doing that successfully. I’m very pleased and impressed with our city employees and look forward to continuing to work with them.”
John Fuller (19, single, U of U student) – “I was encouraged to run by the Emerging Leaders of Utah Initiative. Millennials represent the largest voting bloc in our state, but only about 11 percent of us vote. We’re doing pretty well as a city, but I want to reach out to get more people involved.”