Record editorial: Park City voters are casting ballots, but who is funding the campaign?
Our view: As the voting is underway in a primary election that will eliminate one mayoral candidate and four of the eight people in the running for a City Council seat, there is a piece of vital information that remains unknown: Who is funding the campaigns?
Park City voters by now should have an understanding of the differences between the three mayoral candidates on the primary election ballot.
And they could have learned about the platforms of the Park City Council candidates as well.
But as the voting is underway in a primary election that will eliminate one mayoral candidate and four of the eight people in the running for a City Council seat, there is another piece of vital information that remains unknown: Who is funding the campaigns?
Park City campaign-finance rules continue to reflect an earlier era of elections, before voting by mail became so prevalent. As a result, voters are receiving their ballots in the mail, and any of them could already have made their selections and sent their ballot back.
The ballots likely started to arrive late last week, but the first of a series of deadlines for candidates to file campaign financials does not hit until the end of business on Aug. 3.
The financials include the names of contributors, and how much they gave, as well as how the candidates spent the funds. That information can be enlightening.
A voter may like to know whether one candidate relied heavily on contributions from friends while another person on the ballot focused the fundraising efforts on business interests. Might one candidate have raised all their funds from local contributors while another one tapped people from outside the area? Were there any corporate contributions that might concern some voters?
None of these questions, each of them important to building an understanding of a candidate, can be answered without the campaign-finance reports having been made public.
The same scenario is expected during the general election, when the deadlines for the financials follow a similar schedule to those during the primary.
It is too late for any sort of alterations to the deadlines for the primary, and, we suspect, probably even too late for any sort of adjustment to the campaign-finance schedule for the general election given the time it takes for a government to adopt new rules.
Leaders at City Hall or on the state level, though, ultimately need to address the issue and make the changes to the deadlines to take into account the popularity of voting by mail.
It would be their own contribution to the campaign.
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