Record editorial: This election season is too important to sit out
Unlike last year, voters in Summit County will not be tasked with helping decide the fate of statewide ballot initiatives on hefty policy topics like medical marijuana and redistricting reform when they cast their ballots this fall. And, unlike next year, presidential and congressional races will not be determined on Election Day.
Nonetheless, this election season is critical.
Residents in Park City and Oakley, most notably, will chart a course for their communities by selecting the people they want serving on their city councils and making crucial decisions at a time when both towns are contending with vexing challenges like managing growth.
Voters throughout the Kamas Valley, meanwhile, will determine the future of education in the South Summit School District when they weigh in on an $87 million bond measure that would fund the construction of a new high school. Residents voted down a similar measure in 2017, but officials say the school is necessary to combat overcrowding in the current facilities.
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With such community-defining matters hanging in the balance, it’s imperative that residents exercise their civic duty.
If the primary election in Park City in August is any indication, though, too many of us will skip these elections and allow a small percentage of our friends and neighbors to decide them for us. Voter turnout during the Park City Council primary — the only one in Summit County this year — was a paltry 28.8%. And County Clerk Kent Jones is predicting only a modest increase in turnout in the Park City general election.
We have to do better than that.
More than presidential and congressional elections, and even Statehouse races, the results of local elections significantly affect our day-to-day lives. There are no excuses for not participating, especially since the mail-in balloting system allows us to skip Election Day lines and cast our votes from the comfort of our homes.
Fortunately, there is still time for every eligible voters to ensure their voice is heard: The deadline to register to vote online or at the County Clerk’s Office is Oct. 29. And even folks who miss that date can cast a ballot by taking advantage of same-day registration.
The races and measures we’ll decide next month may lack some of the excitement found in even-year elections. But residents in Park City and the Kamas Valley should not be lulled into inaction — the issues our communities face are far too important to sit this one out.
Mail-in ballots are scheduled to arrive at voters’ homes in Summit County this weekend. For more information, visit the Summit County Clerk’s website at summitcounty.org/270/Clerk.
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