Student to Student: It’s time to vote
As students in Hong Kong rally for democracy, students in Park City have an opportunity to make political changes of their own. Come November, seniors that are 18 will have their first chance to vote.
"When young people vote for the first time, it is something they remember," explained Young Democrats of Utah president TJ Ellerbeck. "Young people can really make a difference in elections."
Unfortunately, teens’ enthusiasm for voting often seems lacking during non-presidential election years.
"I think students don’t always realize how extensive the ballot is. You may be voting for initiatives or referendums. You’re voting for a lot of different state and local offices and you can definitely have an influence," said PCHS government teacher James Fleming.
School board candidates will be among those on the November ballot. For those teens who want to see changes at school and find themselves feeling powerless against school policies and administrators, voting is a perfect place to start. The greater the influence wielded by PCHS students the greater the motivation for candidates to make changes students want.
Also on the ballot are candidates for county sheriff, city council, state legislature and Congress. Be it concern for local development, taxes and law enforcement or state-wide environmental, gun-control, and marriage issues, teens have an opportunity to have a voice. All they have to do is take it.
For some seniors, the desire to make a difference is hindered by uncertainty about how to proceed or who to vote for.
"I’m a really strong believer that people should vote and that they have a social obligation to do so. However, I am also a strong believer that people should be informed before they vote, so right now I’m pretty torn as don’t feel that I am well informed," said PCHS senior Katie Kelley when asked if she would be voting in the upcoming election.
Luckily for Parkites, The Park Record releases a voter guide before elections. The guide will feature all of the candidates on the Summit County ballot and will give potential voters a chance to compare candidates’ opinions on a variety of issues. The voter guide will be published October 18th.
Additionally, KPCW and The Park Record will host a meet-the-candidates event on Oct.20 at 6 p.m. at Newpark Resort. Panelists from both news outlets will question the candidates about their political stances. Summit County residents are welcome to attend, listen and ask questions of their own.
Names of candidates can also be found on the Summit County webpage at http://www.co.summit.ut.us/290/Candidates.
To register to vote go to https://secure.utah.gov/voterreg/index.html. Online registration must be completed at least seven days before the next election. Forms that are mailed in much be postmarked 30 days before an election.
Now is the time to register, research, and start talking.
As Fleming puts it, "If you have that right, why wouldn’t you take advantage of it? It’s not time-consuming, its relatively easy, and it’s something I think people should feel obligated to do. Besides, its fun. It’s really, really fun to vote."
Important election dates:
Oct. 20: Early Voting Registration Deadline
Oct. 27: Voter Registration Deadline: in-person
Oct. 28: Voter registration deadline: online
Oct. 21- 31: Early voting
Nov. 4: Election Day
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Summit County’s sales taxes are beating 2019 levels, with an estimated additional $1.2 million in revenue. Councilors debated using the money to hire more employees.