Park City route to the ballot — signatures or a filing fee — splits the candidates
Some want to save time by paying, but a petition could show early voter support
The candidates in the Park City election this year have two options to ensure their name is on the ballot: open their wallets or find 100 people willing to sign a petition in support of their bid for public office.
Leaders earlier tightened access to the ballot and the campaign in 2021 is the first that will be held under the rules. Someone who wants to become a candidate for the mayor’s office must pay a $150 fee while the fee for the City Council candidates is $100.
In both cases, though, City Hall will waive the filing fees if a candidate collects signatures, a task that is seen as showing at least some commitment to a campaign. The waiver will be granted for a candidate that provides 100 signatures of people who are registered to vote inside Park City.
The signatures must be collected on a nomination petition form that will be provided to the candidates by the Park City recorder. If someone planning a campaign via that route is unable to collect enough signatures that are determined to be valid, they will be left off the ballot.
The filing window when candidates must submit campaign paperwork to City Hall runs from June 1 until June 7. There are already declared candidates for the mayor’s office and the two City Council seats on the ballot this year.
Some of the people who have announced candidacies are split regarding the route to the ballot. The Park Record on Monday and Tuesday approached each of the declared candidates regarding the options and the reasoning behind their consideration of the two routes as the window nears.
Nann Worel, who is a member of the City Council and has launched a bid for the mayor’s office, said she will pay the $150 fee rather than collect signatures. She said the decision is based on her workload as a city councilor.
“It’s simply a matter of time,” she said.
Worel said the campaign will provide opportunities to connect with voters like those that would have been needed to collect signatures.
Mayor Andy Beerman, who is seeking reelection, did not comment about the options onto the ballot, saying he is focused on the business of the municipal government.
Tim Henney, an incumbent member of the City Council seeking reelection, said he will opt to pay the fee. He said that route offers convenience as he considers how to allocate resources with “time and energy being the resources.”
Henney added that he plans to conduct a door-to-door campaign that will allow him to meet voters.
Another declared City Council candidate, Jeremy Rubell, said he intends to collect signatures. That route, he said, will show community support for the campaign. If he is unable to collect the signatures, he would question the decision to run for office, he said.
Rubell said he has talked to people about a nomination petition without one person indicating they would refuse to sign. He expects he will collect the required signatures within 10 days.
Daniel Lewis, an announced City Council candidate, plans to pay the fee to put his name on the ballot. He said collecting signatures would be a “hard task” while working full time. Lewis also said people signing a nomination petition might not realize their address is outside the Park City limits or that they are not registered to vote. He noted the time commitment of collecting signatures as well.
“To play it safe … I am going to be paying $100,” he said.
The City Council in 2020 approved the tightening of access to the ballot. Candidates previously only needed to meet requirements like age and residency. Ballot access under the previous rules was seen as permissive with some candidates over the years not appearing committed to the campaign.
People who want to campaign for the mayor’s office or a City Council seat must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 by Election Day, a resident of Park City for at least 12 consecutive months immediately prior to Election Day and a registered voter inside Park City.
A primary election would be held in August if more than two candidates seek the mayor’s office while more than four candidates in the City Council campaign would force a primary.
“There’s state codes around interfering with the administration of government. And there’s been some behavior recently which may impact or fall in the bucket of those codes, but I’m no attorney, didn’t even take an online class or anything,” Rubell said in an explanation.
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