Six candidates are vying for Christensen's District 1 seat (Rose Park/Fairpark) in the primary.
Three hopefuls are running for Love's District 5 seat (south and east of Liberty Park).
And five candidates are on the primary ballot in Simonsen's District 7 (Sugar House/Brickyard Plaza).
Tuesday's balloting will winnow the field to two finalists in each district who will advance to the general election.
Council seats in Districts 2, 4 and 6 are not up for election this year.
District 3 incumbent Penfold is facing challengers Sherman W. Clow and Aaron Johnson.
Council Chairman Kyle LaMalfa, who is not up for election this year, said that even if Penfold retains his seat, the council dynamic will be much different without veterans Christensen, Remington Love and Simonsen.
LaMalfa credited the outgoing trio with work on historic preservation. "Their collective knowledge, and the loss of it, will be a huge change," he said.
New council members tend to want to solve specific problems, which is the mayor's responsibility, rather than make policy, which is the council's responsibility, LaMalfa explained.
"Most of the candidates are falling to the same folly as I did when I was a candidate. They are thinking like administrators, rather than policymakers," he said. "There will be a little bit of rude awakening for the new council members."
Penfold, 56, who did not vote in favor of a recent 13.8 percent property tax increase, has supported a number of Mayor Ralph Becker's initiatives, including neighborhood pubs and a streetcar line along 1100 East.
He won election four years ago on a successful campaign as a neighborhood activist. Penfold, executive director of the Utah AIDS Foundation, said he would like another term to continue his efforts with a focus on foothill recreational use and environmental protection.
District 3 challenger Sherman W. Clow, 66, has lived in the Avenues neighborhood for 40 years. He is now retired but has worked in communications for the state, UTA and Salt Lake City.
Clow said he is running to make city government consider more closely the consequences of its actions. As such, he would push for free parking downtown after 6 p.m. Higher parking costs have hurt downtown business, he said.
Clow also would like to see better bus service by UTA in neighborhoods. Not least, he wants the city to establish safer bicycle routes.
Also running for the District 3 seat is Aaron Johnson, 48, a veteran, who is now self-employed and develops recreation products.
Johnson wants the city to provide more resources to the elderly, poor and homeless population. "They are not getting a fair shake," he said.
If elected, Johnson said he also would increase the city's efforts at promoting local business.
And not least, he would push for more dog parks. "I want to explore how to create more access to open space for dogs and dog owners."
Remington Love, the outgoing councilwoman, said a new council will carry on the traditions of Salt Lake City government. "I am confident it will continue to work collectively to solve problems."
Salt Lake City primary election
Polls are open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The two candidates in each race with the most votes will advance to the Nov. 5 general election.
Council District 1
Isaac D. Arnold
Richard D.M. Barnes
J Dee Carlson
Kevin S. Parke
Council District 3
Sherman W. Clow
Stan Penfold (i)
Council District 5
Ernest Lloyd Cox
Council District 7
Lisa Ramsey Adams
(i) Indicates incumbent