Student Voting Guide | Utah

This student voting guide explains the laws for the state of Utah.

August 15, 2014

This student voting guide explains the laws for the state of Utah. If you wish to vote from your school address, check the student voting guide for the state in which you attend school. If you are interested in casting an absentee ballot in your home state, check the student voting guide for that state.

The Brennan Center is committed to giving students as much information as possible to help you exercise your constitutional right to vote. More than ever in recent history, changes to voting laws are being implemented in ways that can affect your ability to make your vote count. In addition to the content you will find in this Student Voting Guide, we continue to track passed and pending voting law changes here.

While we are working to give you up-to-date information, we urge you to be proactive! In order to ensure you have all the information you need before casting your vote, you should also check with your state and local election officials for information about additional requirements or regulations.

This voting guide was last updated August 15, 2014.


You may register to vote if you will be 18 by the next election.[1]

You can register to vote by mail, online, or in person. Mail-in registrations must be postmarked 30 days before Election Day.[2] You can register to vote online up to seven days before an election if you have a Utah driver’s license or state identification card.[3] You can register in person at the county clerk’s office up to 8 days before Election Day.

Regular voter registration ends 30 days before Election Day.[4] If you do not register at least 30 days before Election Day (no matter the method) you will not be able to vote through Utah’s early voting program (see below).[5] You can check your voter registration online.


At School. Under Utah law, you are a resident for voting purposes if your principal home is in Utah and if you presently intend to stay in Utah for an indefinite amount of time.[6] Students can establish residency in Utah if they have a present intention to remain at their Utah school address for the time being, and they intend to make it their principal home. Any other interpretation of the residency law is unconstitutional.[7] A student’s voting residency is determined by the same factors as applied to all other voters;[8] voting residency is not gained or lost in Utah solely as a result of being a student.[9]

Voting in Utah may be considered a declaration of residency, potentially making you subject to other laws that govern state residents.

At Home. Students who lived in Utah before moving elsewhere to attend school, and who wish to establish or keep their Utah voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ Utah address), should be able to do so. Like most states, Utah allows students to keep their voting residency even if they move away to attend school, and the only way you will lose this residency is by establishing residency in a new state.[10]  Casting a ballot in another state is considered a definite abandonment of your Utah residency.[11] If you have established residency in another state and are moving back to Utah with the intent to reside here again, you will have to follow the normal registration procedures to re-register in Utah.

Challenges to Residency. Utah presumes that anyone who registers to vote in Utah is a true resident of Utah.[12] Accordingly, if you register to vote in Utah, your registration cannot be denied on the basis of residency, and it cannot be canceled unless there is “clear and convincing” evidence that you do not currently intend to remain permanently or indefinitely in Utah.[13] Students have the right to cast a ballot as a resident of Utah regardless of whether they pay in-state or out-of-state tuition.

Any person may challenge your eligibility to vote based on residency until 21 days before the date early voting begins by filing a written signed statement.[14] If your eligibility is challenged prior to Election Day, the elections officers will make an attempt to notify you no later than 14 days before early voting commences.[15] You may submit information supporting your right to vote no later than seven days prior to the beginning of early voting.[16] Your local elections officer must make a determination of your eligibility prior to the day before early voting begins.[17] You may appeal the elections official in the local state district court.[18]

On Election Day, a poll worker or person living in your precinct may challenge your eligibility when you apply for a ballot. [19] If your eligibility to vote is challenged on Election Day, you will be asked to show ID to verify your identity and residence.[20]

If you have been challenged, whether or not you have ID at the polls, you will be entitled to vote at the polls by provisional ballot.[21] Your ballot will be counted if the county clerk determines that you are an eligible voter.[22] The clerk may do so on its own; you have the opportunity to present additional evidence of identity to the county clerk between Election Day and the following Monday.[23] Remember, any challenge made solely on the basis of your student or tuition status is invalid.

You can check your provisional ballot status online.


All Utah voters will be asked to present “valid voter identification” at the polling place.[24]

To fulfill this requirement you must present one of the following with your name and photo:[25]

  1. A currently valid Utah driver license;
  2. A currently valid identification card that is issued by the state or federal government,
  3. A currently valid Utah permit to carry a concealed weapon;
  4. A currently valid United States passport;
  5. A currently valid United States military identification card;
  6. A valid tribal identification card, a Bureau of Indian Affairs card; or a tribal treaty card (these cards don’t need to include a photo).

If you do not have or did not bring any of these forms of ID, you may show two different forms of identification from the following list, to prove your identity and address:

  1. A currently valid ID card issued by any college, university, technical school or professional school within the state;
  2. A current utility bill or copy thereof dated within 90 days of the election;
  3. A bank or other financial account statement, or legible copy thereof;
  4. A certified birth certificate;
  5. A valid Social Security card;
  6. A check issued by the state or federal government or legible copy thereof;
  7. A paycheck from the voter’s employer, or legible copy thereof
  8. A currently valid Utah hunting or fishing license;
  9. Certified naturalization documents (NOT a green card);
  10. A currently valid license issued by an authorized agency of the United States that does not have a photo on it;
  11. A certified copy of court records showing the voter’s adoption or name change;
  12. A valid Medicaid or Medicare or Electronic Benefits Transfer card;
  13. A currently valid ID card issued by a local government within the state;
  14. A currently valid ID card issued by an employer; or,
  15. A current Utah vehicle registration.[26]

If the poll worker is not satisfied that your identification is valid, you may cast a provisional ballot. [27] In order for that ballot to be counted, you must go to the county clerk’s office by the close of business on the Monday following the election and show valid voter identification for the ballot to count.[28]

Absentee Voting

Any registered voter may vote by absentee ballot in Utah without providing a reason for doing so.[29] You must apply for an absentee ballot, and you can apply online. Otherwise, your paper application may be mailed or delivered in person to your county clerk’s office.

Absentee ballot applications must be received no later than the Thursday before Election Day.[30] You will then be mailed an absentee ballot. Certain first-time Utah voters must provide a copy of a valid voter identification with their absentee ballot.[31] If this occurs, you will be asked to vote a provisional absentee ballot and submit a copy of valid identification with your returned ballot, for your vote to be counted (see list of acceptable Identification above).[32]

If you are submitting your completed absentee ballot in person before Election Day, you must turn it in to election officials by the Thursday before Election Day; alternatively you can submit your absentee vote on Election Day at the precinct you would normally vote at in person.[33] If you return your completed ballot by mail, it must be postmarked by the day before Election Day and received in the office of the election officer by the time ballots are canvassed (fully counted).[34]

Early Voting

As a convenience to voters, Utah has early voting which begins 14 days before the election and ends on the Friday before Election Day.[35] You should check the Vote Utah website for the exact dates, times, and locations for early voting.

Last Updated August 15, 2014

[1] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-2-101.

[2] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-2-202(1)(c)(ii). 

[3] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-2-206.

[4] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-2-102.5(2).

[5] Utah Code Ann. §§ 20A-2-201(3)(b)(1)(B), 206(8)(b)(1)(B).

[6] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-2-105(3).

[7] See Dunn v. Blumstein, 405 U.S. 330, 330 (1972); Williams v. Salerno, 792 F.2d 323, 328 (2d Cir. 1986).

[8] 89 Op. Att’y Gen. 03 (Utah 1989). 

[9] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-2-105(3)(c)(ii).

[10] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-2-105(5)(c).

[11] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-2-105(3)(e)(ii).

[12] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-2-105(7)(a).

[13] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-2-105(7)(b).

[14] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3-202.3(1)(a).

[15] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3-202.3(3).

[16] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3-202.3(3)(c).

[17] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3-202.3(4)(a).

[18] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3-202.3(6).

[19] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3-202.5(a).

[20] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3-105.5(2).

[21] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3-105.5(3)-(4). 

[22] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-4-107(2)(c).

[23] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-4-107(1)(c)(iii)(B).

[24] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3-104(1)(b).

[25] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-1-102(83).

[26] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-1-102(82)(c).

[27] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3-104(1)(c).

[28] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-4-107(1)(c)(iii)(B).

[29] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3-301.

[30] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3-304(1)(b).

[31] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3-305(3).

[32] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3-305(3).

[33] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3-306(2)(a)(i).

[34] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3-306(2)(b).

[35] Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3-601.