Park City voter turnout looked lean Tuesday morning
Midday on Election Day, voters had only trickled in to Park City’s three polling locations at Treasure Mountain International School (TMIS), McPolin Elementary School and the Marsac Building. Perhaps more would turn up after work, election judges suggested. Park City recorder Cindy LoPicollo said testing for all punch-card ballot-counting machines in Coalville, ran smoothly Tuesday morning. McPolin Elementary, which was the polling location for Park Meadows North and South and Quarry Mountain residents, reported was leading in voter turnout with 5 percent of voters casting their ballots before 1:15 p.m. According to Judge Carol Sletta, there were 2,159 registered voters in the area, and 104 had voted, including absentee voters. At 1 p.m. TMIS election judges reported a six-percent voter turnout. Out of 1,014 registered voters from Prospector, Thayne’s and Sidewinder, 76 voters had cast their ballots. Judges at the Marsac Building, who supervised the voting of Deer Valley, Old Town residents, reported a three percent turnout by 12:45 p.m. Only 63 voters out of 2,095 registered voters had cast their ballots. "I’ve judged at dozens of elections and in general, there’s not a big rush during elections in Park City," Judge Ruth Gezelius observed. "The voting pattern typically gets set early. When people line up to wait in the morning, usually that means a good voter turnout for the rest of the day. But today, no one was waiting at the door." Gezelius said the low-voter turnout by lunchtime was due to the fact that there weren’t any money issues on the ballot, and because it was not a presidential election year. While incumbent candidates council member Jim Hier and Mayor Dana Williams Election Day schedule looked like any other day of the week, challengers Mark Blue and Roger Harlan, reported they were still going to drum-up some last minute voters. Blue, who says he’s "always campaigning," said he felt tired. He drove a red, white and blue UPS-sized van throughout Park City with "markblue.org" on its sides to capture voters’ attention. He was cautious not to get too close to any polling locations, however, so as not to violate any of the city’s campaigning regulations. "I’m going to do as much campaigning as I can," he said. "But I have to be careful about parking 150 feet from polling entrances. I can drive by, but I’m not going to park in the high school parking lot it’s too close." Though he has campaigned and won twice in the past, Harlan said he found it difficult sleeping at night in anticipation of the election’s outcome on Tuesday. He asked for a day off from bus driving, and made phone calls to voters. "I’ve done this before, but I always get very nervous on the inside. You work really hard for three or four months and then it’s out of your hands," he said. "I know I was the only candidate to go door-to-door, but I still can’t say who is going to win." Since there wasn’t a primary election, Harlan observed it was difficult for anyone to gage voter interest. "As Election Day got closer, it dawned on me that since there are two council seats, a mayor and a sewer district election, that doesn’t really motivate people to go to the polls. So in the last three weeks, I’ve been urging people to vote," he said. Jim Hier told The Park Record that besides voting in the morning, his Tuesday wouldn’t be any different from most any other day of the week. Williams, who is running unopposed for Mayor joked that in terms of a strategy on Tuesday, he would "play it by ear" and hadn’t planned on doing much. "I’ve never been through this. I’ve never re-run for election and I’ve never run when there wasn’t an opponent. This is all new territory for me," he said. Williams explained the lackluster election was likely due to the fact that everyone, including himself, was a bit calmer this year. "I don’t think it’s about apathy, because so many people are involved. It’s just that the issues are not as divisive as they were over the last 15 years," he said. "It’s just not a controversial election, so it appears there hasn’t been a lot of interest." Voting results will be posted on http://www.parkrecord.com as soon as they are available.
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Buses, trains and gondolas doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, but they make up the transit alternatives for the mountain transportation system the Central Wasatch Commission is trying to create, mostly in the Cottonwood canyons.