Editorial: In an important election, residents have no excuse not to vote | ParkRecord.com

Editorial: In an important election, residents have no excuse not to vote

The Park Record editorial, Oct. 18-20, 2017

Parkites will find an interesting item in their mailboxes toward the end of the week along with the usual torrent of bills and junk mail: the power to influence the future of Park City.

The Summit County Clerk's Office was scheduled to begin sending out mail-in ballots Tuesday for the municipal election, and they are slated to begin arriving by Friday.

When residents tear open the envelopes and step into the now-metaphorical voting booth, they should take care. With a mayoral race between two of Park City's most prominent politicians on the ballot, along with a pair of City Council seats, a lot is riding on the outcome of this election.

It's critical, as always, that every resident educates her or himself about the candidates and the issues. And though there are no state or national races at the top of the ballot to motivate voters, the mail-in system means there's little excuse for Parkites not to exercise one of their most basic and important rights.

For many, the contest between former three-term Mayor Dana Williams and current City Councilor Andy Beerman will be enough incentive to quickly fill out and send back their marked ballots. The contrast between the two candidates, and the visions they present for Park City's future, is clear. One, Williams, is a widely beloved figure in town who represents a return to an earlier era. The other, Beerman, is a well-respected official who is seen as a continuation of the current municipal government's efforts.

The mayoral race alone, which has intrigued residents since before the candidates even officially announced they were running, makes this year's election one that will reverberate for years.

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But there's also a race that could significantly shake up the roster of the City Council as Park City continues to confront a number of important issues, such as growth, affordable housing, traffic and special events. Voters will choose two candidates from a field of four: incumbent Tim Henney, Planning Commissioner Steve Joyce, environmental activist Josh Hobson and perennial candidate Mark Blue.

The winning candidates will each have a significant voice in charting Park City's path, so it's critical to select them carefully.

Outside of Park City, voters will decide a number of other important races and issues. Municipal elections are also being held in Coalville, Kamas, Oakley and Henefer, while the South Summit School District is seeking to pass a $58.65 million bond measure for a new high school.

Given that, residents need to check their mailboxes this week and take seriously the power to help chart the course of our community.

According to the Summit County Clerk's Office, ballots will begin arriving on or around Friday. Ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 6. There are also a number of drop-off locations for ballots throughout the county. The complete list is available by navigating to the clerk's section on the county website, co.summit.ut.us.