Westsiders need polling place regardless of clerk’s assertions
Sue Follett, the Summit County clerk, must make arrangements for a polling location on the West Side for voters to cast ballots before Election Day, regardless of the supposed logistical problems she claims make it too difficult.
Follett, the stubborn Democrat whose re-election bid earlier this year failed to advance out of her party’s convention, is mistaken in her thinking that her decision does not create, in her words, a "hardship" for people in Park City and the Snyderville Basin. They can mail in their ballots early instead of voting at the polls, she says.
We, as do some government leaders, disagree with her opinion and expect that Follett will quickly solve the issues she says must be addressed before allowing early voting on the West Side.
This year is the first in which Utah voters are using touch-screen voting machines, the controversial electronic balloting boxes that Statehouse leaders have endorsed. It is critical that Follett give as many opportunities to vote as she can since some people might still be leery of using the computerized machines.
Instead, Follett, who, as the county clerk, renders election-related decisions without oversight by the Summit County Commission, has offered a short list of excuses for not doing so.
She worries about keeping the machines safe if they are stored on the West Side and says she is concerned about staffing the machines during the few days that early voting is offered, for instance.
The response from Bob Richer and Sally Elliott, County Commissioners from the West Side who want the arrangements made, is on the mark. The two County Commissioners argue, correctly, that the county clerk must make provisions regardless of the hurdles Follett envisions.
Mayor Dana Williams, meanwhile, in a letter to Follett, joins Elliott and Richer in asking for an early voting station on the West Side. He suggests that City Hall be used, which is sensible given its location and, as Williams discusses in his letter, the building has secure areas to store the machines.
Voter turnout, as people in Summit County by now must realize, is usually lacking on the West Side. Arranging for an early voting location on the West Side is another way that the government could, possibly, encourage a few more people to vote.
That on its own is worth the little effort needed by Follett’s office to set up a polling location for early voting on the West Side.
And lest we forget, with gas prices still relatively high, the 60 or so miles, roundtrip, between the West Side and Coalville are not inconsequential, either.
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