Quiz time! What should you do this Tuesday?
A. Wash your car.B. Your laundry.
C. Call your mother.
Of course, you should call your mother. And you should vote, too. But if recent public-opinion polls are an indication, more Utahns will be washing their cars and doing their laundry than voting.
Tuesday is primary election day throughout the state - 137 county, school board and legislative nominations will be decided, there's a Republican primary in the 3rd Congressional District and a U.S. Senate primary in the Independent Party of Utah.
Because of the statewide U.S. Senate primary, every voter can go to the polls. But few Utahns subscribe to the Independent Party of Utah, polls show, so the race between Craig Oliver and Bill Rigley likely will see few votes cast across the state.
Utah has an open primary system: You can pick any party's ballot but can vote only in that party's primary. Thus, voters who choose to vote in the Oliver-Rigley race can't also vote in a Republican or Democratic congressional, county or legislative race.
With few going into the statewide Independent primary, the big race is in the 3rd Congressional District, where Republicans Dixie Thompson and Tom Draschil face each other. (See latest poll results on the race on Page A1). The district includes roughly a third of Utah - the western half of Salt Lake County, including the west part of Salt Lake City; all of West Valley City; all of Utah County; and the counties to the east and southeast. The winner gets a shot at Democratic Rep. Bill Orton in November.
Exclude the Independents' U.S. Senate race, and two-thirds of Utahns have to look at the county and legislative level to find races to draw them to the polls. And chances are few will be so enticed.
Pollster Dan Jones, who conducts surveys for the Deseret News and KSL-TV, believes voter turnout in Salt Lake County will be between 10 percent and 12 percent, which would be one of the lowest primary turnouts ever.
He sees better turnout - about 20 percent - in the 3rd Congressional District, especially in Utah County.
"Moving the primary from September to June is the main reason for the low turnout; people just won't be used to it (voting in June)," Jones says. Many other states have June primaries, however, and as time passes Utahns will get used to it, Jones believes.
The other reason for the expected low turnout is the lack of high-profile races, especially in the Democratic Party, and the fact that this is an off-year election.
"Many people think that Utahns vote in greater percentages than other Americans," Jones said. That is true during presidential election years, "but in off-year elections, Utah is right with the rest" of America - low turnout, he adds.
Still, there are important races to be decided. Twenty of the 29 counties have at least one county commission primary race - Tooele County has three, two Democratic and one Republican.
Here's a breakdown of what voters in some of the larger counties will see on their ballots:
Salt Lake County actually has a full ballot. The west side has the 3rd Congressional District GOP race. All county voters have four GOP county officer races - assessor, recorder, surveyor and one commission contest between Pearl Meibos and Gene Whitmore, the winner facing incumbent Democrat Randy Horiuchi. There also are two countywide Democratic primaries, for sheriff and assessor, and, depending on where one lives, about a dozen Utah House or Senate primaries as well.
Davis County is a bit of a sleeper, unless you like legislative contests. There is no County Commission primary, although there is a GOP county sheriff race and a Democratic clerk-auditor primary - so all county residents can go to the polls if they wish. There are several interesting legislative races, with six-year GOP incumbent Nancy Lyon, R-Bountiful, being challenged by former juvenile judge Ted Bradford and three Senate GOP contests as well: Dixon Pitcher and Nathan Tanner face each other in Senate District 18; Sen. David Steele is challenged by Lori Roberts in District 21; and Doug Durbano faces Craig Taylor in District 22.
Utah County has the 3rd District GOP race as its main drawing card. The county has been the heart of the district since it was created in 1982. There are also two GOP County Commission primaries - incumbent Malcolm Beck faces Jerry Grover in the Commission A race, and David Gardner faces incumbent Richard Johnson in the Commission B race - and a Democratic commission race where Thomas Anderson faces Bob String-ham.
Summit County also has the 3rd District GOP race between Thompson and Draschil and a Democratic commission race.
Weber County has two Republican County Commission contests and several hot legislative races, including a challenge by Democrat Betty Sawyer to unseat 16-year incumbent Rep. Jack Arrington in his Ogden district.
The Deseret News' pre-election Sunday Extra was compiled by staff writers Jeff Vice, Dennis Romboy, Steve Fidel, Don Rosebrock, Linda Thomson, Karl Cates, Jan Thompson, Patrick D. Poyfair, Jason N. Swensen, Joe Costanzo, Jerry Spangler and Matthew S. Brown; assistant city editors Scott Taylor and Marilyn Karras; political editor Bob Bernick Jr.; and associate city editor David Schneider. *****
During the 10 days preceding the primary election, the Deseret News has published dozens of articles on candidates and the issues they are discussing.
In today's newspaper, you can find summaries of many of those races.
Page A1: Latest Deseret News/ KSL poll
B2: U.S. Congress (3rd district)
U.S. Senate (Independent Party)
Jordan, Davis and Alpine School boards
B3: Salt Lake, Davis, Utah, Summit and Wasatch Counties
Wednesday's Deseret News will include vote tallies from all Utah races.