February 1, 2008
Sunday’s Super Bowl may well be a welcome relief from the nonstop campaign yammering of the last month, but by Monday local residents better have their political game back on.
On Tuesday, Utah residents have the opportunity to cast their votes in an important presidential primary. Instead of being disenfranchised — as their favorite candidates get eclipsed by party honchos in places like New Hampshire and Iowa — Utahns will help select their party’s nominee.
Though their role may seem small, based on the number of delegates assigned to the state, the mere fact that Utah is in the primary mix has profoundly affected the candidates’ campaigns. They are buying advertisements on television, setting up campaign offices, sending surrogates to speak to local civic groups and a few have even made personal whistle stops.
It is difficult to remember the last time Americans took such an active role in the primary process. Talk of caucuses and blocs of delegates used to take place in back rooms and in closed-door committee meetings. But after the 2000 vote-counting debacle, Americans began to reclaim their presidential elections. It started with a movement to revamp the way votes are counted and now appears to be turning into an overhaul of the traditional balance of power among state delegates.
This new nationwide pre-election election has been exhausting, expensive, uncomfortable . and wonderful. National candidates have been forced to listen to a bigger more diverse audience including Utahns.
Tuesday’s primary election offers local voters a chance to participate in making a potentially historic choice. They may have a hand in electing the nation’s first black president or the first woman president or the first Mormon president. And more importantly, they will be helping to shape policies on critical issues from the war in Iraq to health care and the environment.
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Don’t throw this opportunity away. Vote on Tuesday. To learn where to vote, log on to http://www.co.summit.ut.us/clerk/elections.html or call (435) 336-3203