Three Moab governance positions are up for election in 2021: the position of mayor and two positions on the Moab City Council. Current mayor Emily Niehaus and council members Karen Guzman-Newton and Mike Duncan are not running for re-election.
Six people declared candidacy for the two city council positions: Anthony Charles, Randall Fox, Josie Kovash, Mike McCurdy, Jason Taylor, and Luke Wojciechowski. Randall Fox withdrew from the race on Oct. 7.
Seven people declared candidacy for mayor: Sherri Costanza, Aaron Davies, Kent Green, Norm Knapp, Joette Langianese, Stephen Stocks, and Bill Winfield. Knapp withdrew from the race on Sept. 22.
The elected officials will join current city council members Rani Derasary, Kalen Jones, and Tawny Knuteson-Boyd. All positions are for four years and are elected nonpartisan positions. The current mayor and council terms end in December. Candidates elected this year will begin in January 2022. [See our coverage of the candidates in the October 8-15 edition]
Oct. 22 is the last day to register to vote. Voter registration must be completed by 5 p.m., and can be done online at voter.utah.gov or in person at the Grand County Clerk’s Office at 125 E. Center St. For the city council and mayoral election, you can only vote if you reside within Moab’s city limits.
You don’t need to register to vote every year, but you do need to update your registration if you have a new address or if you haven’t voted in a few years—updates to registration also have to happen by 5 p.m. on Oct. 22. You can update your address online or in person.
If you were registered to vote before Oct. 11 and you haven’t received a mail-in ballot yet, contact the Utah County Elections Office at 801-851-8125.
You can vote in person on Election Day (Tuesday, Nov. 2) at the Vote Center at City Hall (215 E. Center St.). In-person voting will be open until 8 p.m. If you’re voting by mail, the last day to postmark your ballot is Nov. 1.
In this election, Moab is participating in the State of Utah’s Ranked Choice Voting Pilot Program—ranked choice voting will require voters to rank candidates in order of choice, instead of just voting for one person. Voters will rank all of the candidates according to preference (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.). Ranked choice voting eliminates the need for run-off elections, meaning results can be determined faster.
This type of voting will be useful especially for the City Council positions, since there are two positions up for election. One position will go to the candidate with the highest number of first preference rankings, the other position will go to the candidate with the next highest preference rankings.
Norm Knapp and Randall Fox will still appear on the ballot, despite dropping out of the race. If you vote for them on your ballot, whichever ranking you give them will transfer to your next ranked candidate—for example, if you voted Norm Knapp for your 1st choice, whoever your 2nd choice is will get the 1st choice ranking, since Knapp dropped out of the race. Your votes will still be counted for the other candidates, even if you rank Knapp and Fox on your ballot.
In the ranked choice voting system, the candidate who receives more than 50% of first choice votes will be declared the winner. To determine a second seat, or if no candidate receives more than 50% of first choice votes, elimination begins. The candidate who received the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated. Each vote cast for that candidate will be transferred to the voter’s next-ranked choice.
The elimination process continues until one candidate receives a majority of the votes.