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Four partisan primaries slated Tuesday

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

Democrats aggressively vying to represent portions of Snyderville and Salt Lake City in the state House of Representatives are wooing voters before the June 27 primary election.

Utah lawmakers included portions of western Summit County in House District 25 when they redistricted the state several years ago. Grouping Snyderville voters with heavily Democratic neighborhoods in Salt Lake City like the Avenues and Sugar House reinforced District 25 as a Democratic stronghold.

Whoever wins Tuesday’s primary between Democrats Josh Ewing and Christine Johnson will likely defeat Republican Kenneth Grover in November replacing Democratic Rep. Ross Romero in the seat, politicos say.

According to reports filed with the state detailing campaign contributions and expenditures, a week before the primary, Johnson had outspent Ewing by more than $6,000.

Johnson acknowledged $5,000 contributed to her campaign by the Spotted Frog Bookstore at Kimball Junction, adding that the woman who owns the store wants "gender parity in the Legislature."

Her second largest campaign contribution was $4,000 from Orem resident Bruce Bastian.

Bastian has also contributed $500 to Ewing — who pledged not to accept donations larger than that during the primary.

Seven days before the primary Johnson had spent $22,257 and Ewing $15,906.

Summit County Democratic Party chair Rob Weyher, who was recently charged with a misdemeanor in Salt Lake County Justice Court for allegedly offering Ewing money to withdraw from the race, was not listed among Johnson’s contributors.

GOP primary: closed, Democrats: ‘anyone is welcome’

With races slated on both tickets, Republicans and Democrats will hold primary elections Tuesday.

Of Summit County’s 22,580 registered voters, 5,080 registered as Republicans and 2,570 registered as Democrats, Summit County Clerk Sue Follett said.

According to Follett, traditionally about nine percent of West Side voters and 35 percent of voters in eastern Summit County cast ballots in primary elections.

Only registered members of the GOP can vote Tuesday in the closed Republican contest between Kamas state Rep. David Ure and Vernal banker Kevin Van Tassell. The men are running to replace state Sen. Bev Evans, R-Altamont, in state Senate District 26.

Evans intends to retire from the Senate after this year.

Meanwhile, along with nominating a candidate in the District 25 race, Democrats will weed out contenders in races to oversee the offices of the Summit County clerk and assessor.

Any registered voter can participate in the Democratic primary.

Pinebrook Democrat Ron Perry will challenge incumbent Democratic County Assessor Barbara Kresser while Henefer Democrat Kent Jones takes on Snyderville Democrat Cindy LoPiccolo to replace Follett, who was defeated at the Summit County Democratic Party nominating convention in April.

Because Tuesday will be the first time voters in the county cast ballots on controversial, touch-screen voting machines, the Summit County Commission has requested Follett test the machines after the election to make sure votes were recorded accurately.

Poll workers around the country have reported glitches caused by Diebold election machines similar to the equipment purchased by Summit County.

But the decision to test the results rests with Follett, who Friday had not decided whether to examine paper ballots after Tuesday’s election to gauge the accuracy of the electronic machines.

Along with recording the results electronically, the ATM-style voting machines produce a paper ballot similar to a cash-register tape.

"Someone else is just going to say, ‘that’s not enough,’" Follett said, adding that a test wouldn’t likely satisfy some Diebold critics.

Summit County Commissioner Sally Elliott asked Follett to audit results from a portion of the county’s voter precincts after the polls close Tuesday.

"That would make me feel better," Elliott said. "I’m still just as nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof."

Four computer technicians will be available to poll workers Tuesday shall the machines malfunction, Follett said.

"We do expect a low turnout," she added.

Polls are open June 27 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and, to be counted, absentee ballots must be postmarked by June 26, Follett said.

Contact the Summit County Clerk’s Office at 615-3203 for more election information.


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