Oaths of Office
In Utah, state officers are required by both the federal and state constitutions to take an oath of office. The Constitution of the United States requires members of the legislature as well as all executive and judicial officers of the states to be bound by oath or affirmation to support the federal Constitution (Article VI, clause 3). The Constitution of Utah specifies the wording of the oath to be taken by "all officers made elective or appointive by this Constitution or by the laws made in pursuance thereof, before entering upon the duties of their respective offices" (Article IV, section 10). Note that the text has changed, effective January 1, 2017.
The Oath is to be stated as found in Article IV, section 10:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Utah, and that I will discharge the duties of my office with fidelity.["]
State law dictates that the following individuals may administer the oath. Some state agencies may have a notary on staff who can administer the oath:
§ 78B-1-142: “Every court, every judge, clerk and deputy clerk of any court, every justice, every notary public, and every officer or person authorized to take testimony in any action or proceeding, or to decide upon evidence, has the power to administer oaths or affirmations.”
After taking the oath, state officials should file the original signed oath with the State Archives, as mandated by state law. (Utah Code § 52-1-2 (2))
Once administered the Oath of Office, an official should check with the agency that administered the oath and the official’s own agency to see if there are specific procedures in place to ensure the oath is properly filed with the State Archives.
If there are no set procedures, the original signed hard copy oath should be sent to the State Archives, either by mail or hand delivery to:
Oaths of Office
Utah State Archives
346 S Rio Grande St
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Even though there is no specific time frame as to when an oath should be filed with the State Archives, state officials should do so as soon as possible. Utah Code § 76-8-203 states, “A person is guilty of unofficial misconduct [a class B misdemeanor] if the person exercises or attempts to exercise any of the functions of a public office when the person has not taken and filed the required oath of office[.]”
Oaths of Office for local elected officials should also be filed with the correct entity by mail or hand delivery as noted below:
§ 52-1-3. County, precinct and district officers -- Where filed.
Official oaths and bonds of county, precinct and district officers shall be filed with the county clerk, except those of the county clerk which shall be filed with the county treasurer.
§ 52-1-4. City officers -- Where filed.
Official oaths and bonds of city officers shall be filed with the city recorder, except those of the city recorder which shall be filed with the city treasurer.
§ 52-1-5. Town officers -- Where filed.
Official oaths and bonds of town officers shall be filed with the town clerk, except those of the town clerk which shall be filed with the town treasurer.
§ 52-1-6. School district officers -- Where filed.
Official oaths and bonds of school district officers shall be filed with the clerk of the board of education, except those of the clerk which shall be filed with the treasurer of the board of education.
§ 10-3-829. Acts of officials not voided.
No official act of any municipal officer shall be invalid for the reason that he failed to take the oath of office.
§ 17B-1-303. Term of board of trustees members -- Oath of office -- Bond.
(1) (a) Except as provided in Subsection (1)(b), the term of each member of a board of trustees shall begin at noon on the January 1 following the member's election or appointment.
(b) The term of each member of the initial board of trustees of a newly created local district shall begin:
(i) upon appointment, for an appointed member; and
(ii) upon the member taking the oath of office after the canvass of the election at which the member is elected, for an elected member.
. . . .
(3) (a) (i) Before entering upon the duties of office, each member of a board of trustees shall take the oath of office specified in Utah Constitution Article IV, Section 10.
(ii) An oath of office may be administered by a judge, county clerk, notary public, or the local district clerk.
(b) Each oath of office shall be filed with the clerk of the local district.
(c) The failure of a board of trustees member to take the oath required by Subsection (3)(a) does not invalidate any official act of that member.
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