Record editorial: Ballots are on their way. Make your voice heard.
Get your pens and stamps ready.
The Summit County Clerk’s Office was slated to send out ballots to registered voters Tuesday, with residents expected to receive them in the mail as early as Wednesday.
But what will the voting process look like during the coronavirus pandemic? Fortunately, most voters will notice few changes, if any, because Utah’s robust vote-by-mail system leaves us well-equipped to vote during a health crisis like this.
Nonetheless, there are a few things to keep in mind as ballots arrive.
Most importantly, residents should make every effort to vote using their vote-by-mail ballot, whether they return it through the mail or place it in one of several drop boxes throughout the county.
While there will be several in-person locations for early voting, as well as a drive-through set-up on Election Day itself, voters should view them as secondary options — if, for instance, they don’t receive a mail-in ballot or if they need to take advantage of same-day registration. That will limit election workers’ potential exposure to COVID-19.
In 2018, more than 1,500 Summit County residents opted to vote at a polling location on Election Day, many simply because they preferred to cast their ballots the old-fashioned way. This year, let’s put preference aside and reduce that number, even as turnout is expected to exceed the record-breaking participation level in 2018.
At the same time, the devil is in the details: In order to be counted, mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 2 — the day before Election Day — or returned in a drop box by 8 p.m. on Election Day. There have not been widespread problems in the past in Summit County with voters missing that deadline, but in an election as important as this one, it would be a shame for even one ballot to be tossed out for that reason.
Faced with conducting an election amid a pandemic, the state and the Clerk’s Office have done a commendable job of ensuring that every eligible voter in Summit County has an opportunity to cast a ballot safely and securely.
The rest is up to us. Don’t miss this opportunity to make your voice heard.
Election Day is Nov. 3. The deadline to register online to vote is Oct. 23, though same-day registration will be available in-person. Early voting will be held at the County Courthouse from Oct. 20-24 and from Oct. 26-30. Drop boxes for mail-in ballots will be placed at: the County Courthouse, Coalville City Hall, the Summit County Services Building in Kamas, the Marsac Building, The Market at Park City, the Sheldon Richins Building and Fresh Market in Jeremy Ranch. Drive-through voting will be held on Election Day at the Summit County Fairgrounds. For more information, visit the Summit County Clerk’s website at summitcounty.org/281/Voter-Registration-Elections.
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