In 2024, Utah voters will decide on a constitutional amendment that would establish in the state constitution that every county in Utah must elect a sheriff to serve for four-year terms.
Utah state law already mandates the election of county sheriffs, which means that this constitutional amendment would not alter the current procedures for selecting sheriffs.
Bill sponsor Rep. Brad Wilson (R) said, “I personally believe it’s nice to vote for our county sheriffs and know as a voter I have a say in who the chief law enforcement officer is in my county. [The amendment] is very simple. It creates an opportunity for the voters of the state of Utah to determine through amending our state constitution whether or not that’s something they want to protect in perpetuity.”
The state House approved the amendment on February 7, 2023, in a vote of 72-0 with three members absent or not voting. The Utah State Senate approved the amendment on February 17, 2023, in a vote of 26-0 with three members absent or not voting.
In 2022, Kansas voters approved an amendment requiring the election of county sheriffs in counties that had not abolished the office as of January 2022.
From 2000 to 2022, the Utah State Legislature referred 40 constitutional amendments to the ballot. Voters approved 35 (87.5%) and rejected five (12.5%) of the referred amendments. All of the amendments were referred to the ballot for general elections during even-numbered election years. The average number of amendments appearing on the general election ballot was between three and four.