October 4 editorial
October 7, 2008
Maybe you just turned 18, recently moved to Utah, or thought you were just here for the ski season and ended up staying. Perhaps you were never very interested in politics, or thought one vote wouldn’t make a difference. Anyway, here it is 30 days from the general election and the realization dawns that you haven’t registered to vote.
Now, with lawn signs spreading like weeds, office mates talking about little else than the latest political clips on YouTube and candidates begging for your endorsements, you may be wondering whether its too late to make your voice heard on election day.
The answer, fortunately, is no. Citizens who want to cast their ballots on Nov. 4 may register to vote by mail through this Monday, Oct. 6, and can register in person at the Summit County Clerk’s office in Coalville through Oct. 20.
Of course you can remain undecided until the last campaign ad has aired, you can weigh the options right up until you touch the electronic screen on the new voting machines. But unless you take a few moments to register prior to election day, you will be turned away from the polls.
So why should that concern you? Starting at the top of the ticket, the last two presidential elections have been squeakers. True, one vote wouldn’t have tipped the scales but in 2000 the spread between George W. Bush and Al Gore was just one percent (some say it was even closer). And in the 2004 race between George W. Bush and John Kerry it was two percent.
Moving down the ballot to recent local races, some are literally won by a handful, or even one vote. In 2006, the controversial decision to change from a three-man county commission to a five-member county council was decided by just 110 votes and the official results couldn’t be announced until 400 provisional ballots, which arguably could have changed the county’s destiny, were counted. City council and school board candidates have been known to hinge on 5 to 10 votes.
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So your vote does count, especially in the city and county races.
This week, Park City High School student Matt Eckles personally collected a pile of registration forms from students and teachers and hand delivered them to Summit County Clerk Kent Jones. Matt, and others who have taken the initiative to register new voters have provided a great service. But if they missed you, be sure to register. You don’t want to be left out on Nov. 4.
For more information visit http://www.summitcounty.org/clerk or call (435) 336-3040.