Trump versus Biden, coupled with coronavirus and unrest, will drive Park City-area turnout
The supporters of President Trump in Summit County in coming weeks are poised to show the Republican continues to have their backing amid the spread of the novel coronavirus and the economic havoc the illness has caused.
Those who want former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden to win the presidency will shortly have the opportunity to cast a ballot for a change in the White House.
The intense interest in the presidential contest is expected to drive voter turnout, the top election official in Summit County said on Monday, a day before the ballots were sent in the vote-by-mail election. Summit County Clerk Kent Jones predicted in an interview the turnout could hit between 85% and 90% in the county, in the range of the numbers four years ago. He said Trump and Biden voters are highly motivated at a moment of great unrest in the nation.
“Everything in the news has made people aware and want to participate,” Jones, a Democrat, said.
He pointed to the coronavirus and racial tensions as two of the issues that could lead to a higher turnout in 2020. He also said there were voters four years ago that remained undecided between Trump and the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, late into the election. Jones said the number of undecided voters seems to have dwindled this year.
“I think a lot of people had a hard time deciding,” Jones said about the election in 2016. “This time around, I think people have made up their minds already.”
Clinton in 2016 easily won Summit County, one of only two counties she took in the state. Summit County, especially the Park City area, is one of the state’s reliably Democratic areas, a result of years of arrivals from places like California and New York. The Summit County Council is 5-0 Democratic while Democratic candidates in Statehouse and congressional contests typically enjoy some of their best showings in the Park City area, even as other places in the districts usually put the Republican into office. Biden, like Clinton, is expected to have some of his best results in the state in Summit County.
The ballots in Summit County will be jammed with down-ticket decisions as well. Voters in the county will help decide the next congressman in the 1st Congressional District. Each of the three state House of Representatives districts that include portions of Summit County will be decided. The state Senate District 19 seat, which includes some of the Snyderville Basin, North Summit and areas outside of Summit County, is also on the ballot. School board seats in Park City, South Summit and North Summit will be decided as well. Voters throughout Summit County will decide whether a tax that funds recreation, arts and parks is renewed.
The county clerk anticipates the ballots will begin arriving as early as Wednesday. Between 27,000 and 28,000 ballots will be mailed.
Early voting is available at the County Courthouse and is designed for people who need to vote in person or who need assistance. People who need to vote early at the County Courthouse will be given a ballot to be put in a drop box. The early voting period runs from Oct. 20 until Oct. 30.
The postmark deadline for people returning ballots in the mail is Nov. 2. Those who want to put their ballot in a drop box have a deadline of 8 p.m. on Election Day itself, Nov. 3. Drop boxes will be placed at:
• the Marsac Building
• the City Hall in Coalville
• the County Services Building in Kamas
• the Sheldon Richins Building
• Fresh Market at Jeremy Ranch
• the clerk’s office at the County Courthouse
• The Market at Park City
The voter-registration deadline is Oct. 23.
For more information, contact the clerk’s office at 435-615-3204.
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