CALENDAR
water-conservation-logo1-000.jpg
advocacy.png
pride booth.jpg
smart growth.jpg
gerrymandering.png
education.jpg
crt.jfif
GET INVOLVED WITH YOUR ISSUES
air quality.jpg
1BUTTONGREEN.jpg
1BUTTON.jpg

The Debate for St. George candidates for Mayor and City Council was very informative.

The candidates running for both mayor and City Council in St. George have agreed to a debate on Oct. 12, the same day that election clerks plan to send out ballots by mail for the 2021 municipal election.

Election Day is officially on Nov. 2, but many voters will have already cast their votes by then, with ballots set to start going out earlier by mail. 

There won’t be many election events for residents in the meantime, but for voters in St. George, the recently-formed Southern Utah Debate Commission is set to host the official debate, with council candidates Greg Aldred, Vardell Curtis, Natalie Larsen and Michelle Tanner set to debate from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., followed by the mayoral candidates Michele Randall and Jimmie Hughes from 7 to 8 p.m.

Both debates will be at the Eccles Fine Arts Building at Dixie State University, on the southeast corner of the intersection of 100 South and 700 East. More information is available on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/446899306760616/.

The St. George primary election in August significantly pared down the City Council candidate list. During the primary, there were 11 candidates vying for two seats, and now, there are only four candidates. In the City Council race, there were two appointed councilors — Vardell Curtis and Bryan Smethurst — looking to be elected for the first time, but only Curtis made it past the primary. 

After the City Council candidate debate, there will be a short intermission at 6:30 for residents to meet the candidates. After this break, the two mayoral candidates — current Mayor Michele Randall and City Councilor Jimmie Hughes — will debate each other at 7 p.m.

It would be historic if Randall wins her election, since St. George has never elected a woman to be mayor. Randall wasn’t elected to her seat; rather, she was appointed to it in January after the former mayor — Jon Pike — left for a job in Spencer Cox’s administration. 

If Jimmie Hughes gets elected, another seat on the City Council will open up, since Hughes is currently serving a term that runs through January 2024. 

For the primary, St. George had a 30.96% voter turnout rate, which translates to 16,435 ballots, according to Melanie Abplanalp, the Washington County Election Clerk. This was the highest turnout rate the city has had for its municipal elections. In 2019, the turnout rate was 28.46%. In 2017, when the municipal election was done primarily through in-person voting, the rate was 11.35%. 

The debate comes just as mail ballots are scheduled to go out. Ballots go out on the Oct. 12 and should arrive in people's mailboxes no later than Oct. 16, Abplanalp said. 

The deadline to postmark ballots this year is Nov. 1, the day before the official Election Day on Nov. 2. The last day to register for mail-in voting is Oct. 22, although municipalities that are offering in-person voting will also have same-day voter registration. 

In total, there will be 15 elections across Washington County this year, 12 for City Council and mayoral races, and three for special service districts, according to Abplanalp.

If someone decides to return a ballot close to Election Day, it’s recommended that they use one of the county’s ballot drop boxes, which will be open 24 hours a day from now until 8 p.m. of Election Day, Abplanalp said.

There are six ballot drop box locations in Washington County and all except one are in the same place as the primary election.

The one difference is that the drop box at the Washington County building will move from its current location on the northside parking lot to the southside of the building due to construction, according to Abplanalp. 

Ballot drop box locations

  • The St. George Library (88 W. 100 S., St. George)

  • Hurricane Library (36 S. 300 W., Hurricane)

  • Santa Clara Library (1099 Lava Flow Dr., St. George)

  • Washington Library (220 N. 300 E., Washington)

  • The Washington County administrative building (197 East Tabernacle St., St. George).

All residents in Washington County can take advantage of these drop boxes, except for residents of Virgin, since the county is conducting Virgin’s municipal election. 

In-person voting on Nov. 2 will also be offered to residents of Ivins, St. George and Washington and will take place at the Dixie Convention Center (1835 S. Convention Center Dr., St. George). Santa Clara residents can also vote in-person at the Santa Clara city office building (2603 Santa Clara Dr., Santa Clara), according to Abplanalp.

The hours for in-person voting will be from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. on Election Day.

Since these elections are done through the mail, the results won’t become immediately available. Abplanalp said preliminary results will be posted at 8 p.m. on Election Day on the county website, but the results for an individual election will be finalized on the city’s official canvass date. Canvass dates differ by each city, but they will all happen anywhere from seven to 14 days after Nov. 2. 

Sean Hemmersmeier covers local government, growth and development in Southwestern Utah. Follow on Twitter @seanhemmers34.

debate.jpg

LGBTQ+