More than 5,500 vote in largest election in county history
Voters in San Juan County participated in an historic general election on November 8. It was the largest election in San Juan County history, with a total of 5,546 ballots cast by voters. That is 197 more voters than participated in the 2012 general election.
Voter turnout represents 78 percent of the “active voters” on the San Juan County voting lists.
The election was closely followed both near and far, with observers from the US Department of Justice and from several candidates watching the proceedings.
An active federal voter rights lawsuit alleges that San Juan County discriminated against Native American voters because of a previous mail-only election in 2014.
This year, in addition to the mail-in ballots that were mailed to all registered voters, election day voting was available at four sites in the county, including Monticello, Montezuma Creek, Oljato and Navajo Mountain.
Officials report that 3,880 ballots, or approximately 70 percent of the ballots counted, were received in the mail before election day.
Preliminary results released on election night included the counts from these ballots. Election officials worked through Wednesday and Thursday and late into Monday night to verify and count the 1,666 additional ballots. Updated results were eventually released on Monday night.
Of the additional 1,666 ballots, 687 were ballots that arrived by mail on election day or afterward. They are required to be postmarked before the election closed.
A total of 653 San Juan County residents voted in person on election day at one of the four voting locations.
An additional 326 voters cast provisional ballots or registered to vote on election day. In total, the number of voters in the 2016 general election were nearly 200 more than in the 2012 general election.
The election represents a big victory for the Republican party, which won every race on the ballot in San Juan County, from the local Commission race to the race for President of the United States.
San Juan County Commissioner Bruce Adams earned a fourth term in office representing northern and western San Juan County. Adams earned 1,353 votes. Write-in candidate Monte Wells received 159 votes.
Mike Lee won a second term in the US Senate with a strong victory over challenger Misty Snow. Lee won 60 percent of the vote in San Juan County and 68 percent of the vote for the entire state.
Similarly, Jason Chaffetz won another term in the US House of Representatives with a convincing win over challenger Stephen Tryon. Chaffetz won 61 percent of the vote in San Juan County and 74 percent of the vote in the entire state.
Donald Trump shocked many observers as he was elected to serve as president for the next four years. The overall results show consistent Republican victories up and down the ballot.
Trump won the approval of 48 percent of San Juan County voters, with Democrat Hillary Clinton earning 36 percent and independent challenger Evan McMullin earning nine percent of the vote.
Incumbent Republicans dominated the field in statewide races as Governor Gary Herbert was re-elected to another term. Herbert won the race with 59 percent of the vote in San Juan County and 67 percent of the vote across the state. Democrat challenger Mike Weinholtz earned 36 percent of the vote in the county and 29 percent statewide.
Greg Duerden, a candidate for Governor from the Independent American Party and former San Juan Record publisher, earned 13,493 votes (approximately 1.5 percent of the total) as the Lt. Governor candidate with running mate Dell “Superdell” Schanze.
Sean Reyes won the race for Utah Attorney General, securing 54 percent of the vote in San Juan County and 66 percent of the vote statewide.
Incumbent John Dougall won another term as Utah State Treasurer with 53 percent of the vote in San Juan County and 63 percent statewide.
The new Utah State Treasurer is David Damschen, who earned 52 percent of the vote in San Juan County and 61 percent statewide.
Local representatives in the Utah State legislature were re-elected to another term in office. Democrat Heidi Redd, a San Juan County resident, narrowly defeated David Hinkins in San Juan County, but Hinkins won the vote in other areas of the sprawling district to earn another term in the Utah State Senate. Hinkins secured 70 percent of the overall vote.
State Representative Mike Noel earned a new term in the Utah House of Representatives with a victory over challenger Ty Markham. Noel received 55 percent of the vote in San Juan County and 70 percent throughout the district.
There were a series of judicial retention elections across the state. Locally, San Juan County Justice Court Judge Lyon Hazelton received the approval of 76 percent of voters. Hazelton also received the approval of 88 percent of voters as the Monticello Municipal Court Judge.
In Blanding, Judge Will Walker received the approval of 83 percent of voters as the Blanding Municipal Court Judge.
In Spanish Valley, voters approved an extension of the water and sewer system with 61 percent of voters approving the proposal.
Voters in north Blanding and east central San Juan County elected Merri Shumway to a fifth term on the San Juan School Board. Shumway defeated challenger Kari Bake by a count of 651-442.
There will be two new members of the San Juan School Board. In northern San Juan County, Lori Maughan defeated James Muhlestein 552-477. Maughan replaces incumbent Bill Boyle, who did not run for another term.
In south Blanding through White Mesa and on to Mexican Water, Steven Black defeated Cody Nielson by a vote of 530-229. Black replaces incumbent Debbie Christiansen, who did not run for another term.
Voters in San Juan County and the State of Utah approved two of three proposed changes to the Utah State Constitution. Propositions to change the oath of office and to adjust the distribution of state school funds were approved, while a proposition for a property tax exemption for certain leased assets was defeated.