Utah legislature race decided by only three votes

Posted at 6:03 PM, Nov 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-22 20:03:23-05

SALT LAKE CITY — In the final election canvass, one race for the Utah State Legislature has been decided by only three votes.

“Every vote counts,” Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen quipped Tuesday as she presented the final election results to the Salt Lake County Council.

The closest race was House District 32 in Draper between incumbent Republican LaVar Christensen and his Democratic challenger, Suzane Harrison. When the final votes were canvassed, Rep. Christensen won by three votes.


“It is an honor to be in public service,” Rep. Christensen told FOX 13 after the votes were canvassed.

The Utah Democratic Party said Harrison will formally request a recount of the race on Wednesday, as she is entitled to do when the results are so close. Swensen said she anticipated the recount, which would include a hand-counting of some ballots and another automatic tabulation, would be conducted in early December.

Despite the uncertainty of that race, Democrats picked up a seat out of West Valley City in the Utah House of Representatives with the election of Elizabeth Weight over Republican incumbent Sophia DiCaro.

Weight told FOX 13 she was happy with the outcome, but also offered praise to Rep. DiCaro for a race that “focused on the issues.”


That win, and the election of Karen Kwan, gives Democrats their first gain in the House since 2008. (The Democrats lost a seat in eastern Utah when Brad King lost to Democrat-turned-Republican Christine Watkins.)

In other election results: Rep. Craig Hall, R-West Valley City, holds on to his House seat over Democratic challenger Peter Tomala.


In Midvale, Rep. Bruce Cutler holds on to his seat over Democratic challenger Christine Passey.


Swensen told the Salt Lake County Council that there were 510,397 active voters in the county during the 2016 election. Of those, 427,066 voters cast ballots. Swensen said 83% of those ballots were mailed-in.

Responding to criticism about the long lines at polling places on election night, Swensen apologized.

“I wished we’d had more voting centers,” she told the council.