Provo and Orem 2021 Election Day Roundup

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Tuesday, Nov. 2, was Election Day for Utah voters. Across the state, cities held mayoral and city council elections, including two of Utah’s 10 largest cities: Provo and Orem. 

Michelle Kaufusi gives her first speech as Provo mayor following her swearing in ceremony on Jan. 18, 2018. (Savannah Hopkinson)

Election results showed incumbent Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi with a strong lead over Ken Dudley.Mayor Kaufusi won with a margin of approximately 5,450 votes. She was first elected in 2017, and with the support of 75% of voters, she will continue to maintain her position as mayor. 

Graphic depicting the difference in votes between Kaufusi and Dudley
Graphic depicting Michelle Kaufusi and Ken Dudley’s vote difference. Kaufusi won with 75% to Dudley’s 25%. (Graphic By Megan Spencer)

The results of the city-wide council votes placed Katrice Mackay as the winner, with a lead of 54% to 46% over competitor Aaron Skabelund. Mackay campaigned with a focus on Provo’s neighborhoods, economy and recreation. 

“I’m grateful for the support and confidence Provo voters have placed in me,” Mackay said. “I’m ready to get to work.” 

District 5 in Provo’s City Council, previously represented by David Harding, is now represented by Rachel Whipple who won with a margin of 91 votes over competitor Coy D. Porter. 

Orem’s mayoral election resulted in David A. Young, who came in second during Utah’s primaries, winning with a lead of 2,000 votes over Jim Evans. Young is pushing for “forward-thinking policies while planning for growth and protecting the family, neighborhoods and values,” according to his website. 

Nov. 2 also marked the second use of “ranked choice voting” ballots for Utah voters. Ranked choice voting allows voters to rank their candidates in order of preference, rather than casting one vote for one candidate. With this system, potential candidates need to earn more than 50% of votes to win the race.

Six Utah cities: Elk Ridge, Genola, Lehi, Springville, Vineyard and Woodland Hills participated in ranked choice voting during this election. 

Taylor Williams, Utah County’s Chief Deputy Clerk/Auditor, said that ranked choice voting is intuitive for most voters, and that the vast majority of ballots from this election had no issues with that method of voting.

“It’s not an out of the box idea to rank something in order of preference,” Williams said.

The canvassing period ends two weeks from election day, on Nov. 16. Finalized results and vote counts will be available once the canvassing period is over.

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