U.S. Representative Chris Stewart (R), of Utah's 2nd Congressional District, will resign on September 15, 2023, citing his wife's health concerns. A special election will be held on November 21, 2023, to fill the vacancy.

Why isn't the vacancy election scheduled for the general election date for 2023 which is just two weeks earlier, when the date is being set in July of 2023?

2 Answers 2


Elections for members of Congress are governed, in part, by US law, in particular, the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE Act). The act imposes certain time frames to allow for the mailing and receipt of ballots for such elections. Along with time for candidates to register for the primary, there was not enough time to hold the election at the same time as the normally scheduled municipal elections.

To keep from having separate elections two weeks apart, municipal primary and general elections were pushed back so that the special election could be held at the same time to minimize the length of the vacancy in the US House.

Gov. Spencer Cox called the special session to push back the municipal election days, originally scheduled for Aug. 15 and Nov. 7. Without legislative intervention, the soonest Utah’s 2nd Congressional District seat could be filled would have been next March. [KUER 90.1 ]

The legislature passed a law HB2001 to make the change for 2023 only.

This bill:

  • modifies municipal election provisions, for the 2023 municipal elections only,
  • including:
  • changing the dates of the municipal primary elections and municipal general elections;
  • directs each county in the Second Congressional District of Utah to conduct a special congressional primary election on the same day as the 2023 municipal primary election and a special congressional general election on the same day as the 2023 municipal general election;
  • repeals the codified provisions of this bill on May 1, 2024.
  • 2
    Good catch! Not what I would have expected.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Jul 28, 2023 at 22:36

It is likely due to filing deadlines for the candidates and not having enough time from the announcement to the election date.


2022 election

Primary June 28th

Filing deadlines

Open: March 11 (on or after the second Friday in March before the next regular general election)

Close: March 17, by 5 p.m. (before 5 p.m. on the third Thursday in March before the next regular general election)

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