Chaffetz replacement vote set for Nov. 7

Seat to remain vacant for more than four months

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - On November 7, voters will decide the next congressional representative from District 3. 

The controversial special election comes after Jason Chaffetz leaves office in the middle of his term on June 30. 

"I think that both the legislative leadership and the governor wish we weren't doing this," Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox said. 

The special election will be held in tandem with the municipal election to save money. The primary is scheduled for August 15. 

"We want to ensure, and the governor wants to ensure that under the existing law, we are mirroring, that the seat is vacant for as little time as possible," Cox said.

Candidates can get their names on the ballot by either being nominated by a political party or by collecting signatures. The direct path to the primary comes from Governor Gary Herbert, who upset state lawmakers by refusing to let them decide the special election guidelines. 

"The question is, does the governor have the authority or does he not, and our legal team and our governor have determined that they do," Cox said.

"It isn't their prerogative to do that. It's the legislature's prerogative. It's in the constitution," Wayne Niederhauser said, (R) Dist. 9.

Neiderhauser sits as the Utah Senate president and argues the governor is overreaching. However, the leadership does not plan on challenging the governor in court. 

"Critical issues that are facing our nation and we are going to be left with a vacant seat at that point and no vote from the third district," Niederhauser said.

The winner of the election won't immediately take office. according to Lt. Gov. Cox. It will take a two weeks for the votes to be canvassed, followed by an election certification in Washington DC. 

The winner's term will go through December 31, 2018.


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