Utah’s new election dates affect Ogden’s loaded mayoral contest 2023

Ogden mayoral candidates Angel Castillo and Taylor Knuth have been repeating the previous election dates since January. Vote on Aug. 15 for the primary and Nov. 7 for the mayor. Candidates must inform voters of the altered election dates.

The Utah Legislature decided last week to align local elections with the special congressional election to replace Republican U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart. The special election only affects Utah’s 2nd Congressional District, but the changed dates affect municipal elections statewide. Sept. 15 is the municipal and special election primary, while Nov. 21 is the general election.

Weber State University political science professor Leah Murray said the altered election dates will impact candidates’ plans. Murray said pre-election date walkers “probably had everything mapped out.” However, they must accommodate the extra three weeks before the primary election.

Knuth said his campaign generated about 3,000 pieces of content.

“Frustratingly, we had 3,000 conversations before then with that literature that listed the wrong date,” he added. We talked to a community-minded person, so it wasn’t wasted.

He spent additional money revising voter material to educate Ogden voters of the changed election dates. His crew is labeling envelopes with voting dates for Ogdenites. Knuth said such adjustments alone “will make the race more expensive.”

He thinks the modified election days hurt volunteer efforts the most. The Knuth campaign prioritizes voter-to-voter engagement.

“I had to divert volunteers from direct voter contact that is so important to our campaign into putting labels onto literature because we did not want to waste what we had printed,” he added.

Castillo may not adjust her campaign tactics. However, individuals must be trained to vote.

She hoped the state and municipal governments would fund a social media reeducation program. “It’s hard enough to get primaries voted.”

Castillo said constituent outreach and organizing will be needed. She will have more time to meet with voters, but she will have to campaign longer. That means spending more on every campaign facet.

You must reverse engineer the cost. I need how many fliers? How many individuals must I pay or volunteer to deliver texts? “It’s the trick,” she added.

Murray said the mayoral candidates may benefit from more campaign time due to the crowded field. Mayoral candidates have greater time and money to approach voters.

“Canvassing really matters in local elections,” she remarked. “Three extra weeks is good because you have to get out and talk to a lot of people.”

However, delaying the election “maybe does give an advantage to late entries,” who entered after Castillo and Knuth. Murray said it won’t hurt “the early prepared candidates” to “get out to [voters] more than once.”

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