Ballots, but no turkey chili | ParkRecord.com

Ballots, but no turkey chili

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Voters in Old Town and Deer Valley will cast their ballots at Snow Park Lodge in November.

And, no, candidates will not be buying the voters turkey chili as they head to the polls.

Summit County election officials were forced to scrap the traditional polling place at the Marsac Building because it is under major construction.

The Marsac Building had for years been a key polling place, with people who live in Old Town and Deer Valley assigned to vote there. Voting was held in the Park City Council chambers.

But Summit County Clerk Kent Jones, the county’s top election official, has reached an agreement with Deer Valley leaders to hold the voting at Snow Park.

The polls will be put in the Clock Room at the lodge, on the second level.

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Jones said he sought a location that had enough space, had enough of parking and was accessible to the handicapped. There is plentiful parking outside Snow Park, and the building has an elevator for the handicapped.

Deer Valley Resort is donating the use of the space for Election Day, Jones said. He said other options included Park City High School or other public buildings. Snow Park was more centrally located to the voting districts, however, he said, noting that he was apprehensive about choosing the high school because of the potential of continuing construction there.

"It’s right in the area. You’re not going outside the area," Jones said, adding that Snow Park is "reasonably close to Marsac."

He plans a public-relations campaign starting soon to explain the switch to Snow Park.

Voter turnout is expected to be solid on Election Day, with there appearing to be widespread interest in the White House campaign and the contest for the Summit County Council. There typically are not long lines at the voting location for Old Town and Deer Valley, though.

Jones said parking will be available on the curb outside the lodge. If more is needed, Snow Park’s huge lots are close by. Jones said politicking is barred within 150 feet of polling locations, regardless of whether they are on private property.

He said state election rules instruct officials to first search for polling locations that are on public property. If no public locations meet the requirements, the rules allow officials to select a location on private property, he said.

A spokesperson for Deer Valley said the resort has 24-hour security at the lodge. Erin Grady, the resort spokesperson, said Deer Valley also intends to request help from City Hall with keeping the polling place secure.

The Marsac Building closed earlier this year for a renovation to strengthen it against earthquakes and make it more accessible to handicapped people, among other upgrades. It is scheduled to be finished in December 2009.

Under that schedule, it is unlikely that the Marsac Building would be available as a polling location in the municipal election in November 2009, when the mayor’s office and two Park City Council seats are on the ballot.

Carol Rixey, who has been an election judge for 30 years, spending many Election Days assigned to the Marsac Building, said the change to Snow Park will not impact turnout in November. She said voters are energized.

Snow Park will not be as convenient for Old Town voters as the Marsac Building is, but it will be easier to reach for voters in Deer Valley, Rixey, who was unsure whether she would be an election judge in 2008, said, calling the Snow Park polling place "OK."

"They will do it, because it is a general election," she said. "People are going to be very interested in this one because of the president."

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