Early last week, Vote-by-Mail envelopes began to arrive at many Tooele County citizens’ homes, and early voting polling locations also opened. According to Tooele County Clerk/Auditor Marilyn Gillette, not many Vote-by-Mail envelopes have started to arrive yet, but lots of local voters are taking advantage of early voting at her office.
And that’s a good thing, according to Gillette. She said the length of the ballot is taking voters about five minutes to complete. The more early voting gets done by 5 p.m. Friday at her office, or Wednesday at the Tooele Senior Center from 9 a.m. to noon, next Tuesday’s election day lines at the polls hopefully won’t be long. To help quicken the process, she urges voters to become familiar with the ballot beforehand, which can be reviewed at co.tooele.ut.us.
Gillette, who is the county’s top election official, suspects heavy voter turnout may occur this year, as do we, not only because it’s a presidential election, but because of the imbroglio between the two major candidates for the White House and the controversies surrounding each. The race between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama in 2012 saw over 70 percent of Tooele City voters and over 80 percent of Grantsville voters cast a ballot. It’s possible those local percentages may be eclipsed by next Tuesday.
If they do, it won’t come as a surprise. The run for the White House between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is, regrettably, the most unconventional, hostile and divisive campaign this nation has seen in recent memory. Voters in both camps are passionately committed to their candidates. And now in Utah, independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin, who represents a conservative, principle-based choice, has created enough momentum in the state to possibly win vital Electoral College votes away from Trump.
Even so, there likely are local voters who haven’t decided yet who they will vote for, which is understandable given the volatile and unpredictable drama of the presidential campaign. And just as likely, there are local voters who may choose not to vote at all this year because of that drama. But we urge them to reconsider that choice, for the presidential race is only one item on the county’s election ballot.
There are several more, including local races for a county commission seat, county attorney, four school board seats and three propositions. The first proposition (Prop. #14) asks if Tooele County government should be studied for a possible change in the form of government. The other two (Props. #15 and #16), ask whether or not Lake Point and Stansbury Park should incorporate, and if so, what type of government they should adopt.
Also on the ballot are federal races for U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives; state races for governor, attorney general, auditor, treasurer, and two House Districts; 14 judicial retentions; and three proposed constitutional amendments. All of which have, more so than the White House, a direct say in day-to-day living in Tooele County.
Ultimately, voting goes beyond the candidates on the ballot and the issues debated by political parties; voting helps define us as a democracy. May all local voters choose to take part. Perhaps this election in particular, every vote counts.