The editorial we used to write the week before Election Day would typically beat the civic duty drum to inspire local voters to make sure they cast a ballot at their local poll.
But voting today in Tooele County has become a lot simpler. Instead of voting at a poll, you fill out a vote by mail ballot and send it back before Election Day. Other than knowing the candidates and issues, the hardest part now is marking the ballot correctly — and licking a postage stamp.
However, despite the convenience of voting from your home, that advantage has yet to translate into consistent big voter turnouts. Voter participation reached nearly 50% when Tooele County made the complete switch to vote by mail ballots for the Republican Primary in June 2018.
Voter participation jumped even higher in November 2018’s General Election, hitting over 70%. Vote by mail was a contributing factor, but even bigger was the ballot, with 35 items, including change of county government, medical marijuana, two county commission seats and more.
But the next local election, which was August’s primary, reached more modest numbers. Only 22.5% of registered voters helped reduce candidate fields for Tooele City Council, the Stansbury Greenbelt Service District and Stansbury Recreation Special Service District.
Such contrast in results can lead one to conclude that strong voter turnout may be driven more by what’s at stake rather than convenient vote by mail ballots. But either way, it’s hoped that voter participation next Tuesday will be robust, because the ballot — per city and community — does feature important races.
Other than leadership changes on the Tooele City Council, Vernon Town Council and the Stansbury Service Agency (see related front-page story), Grantsville will decide on four City Council seats. Grantsville voters will also decide the fate of proposition #8.
Voters in Stockton will cast votes in a mayoral race and one council race. And finally, voters across the county will decide on the Tooele County School District’s $190 million bond proposal for building three new schools and installing security upgrades at all existing schools.
A sample ballot can be seen on page B7 in today’s edition.
As a reminder, vote by mail ballots have to be postmarked no later than Monday, Nov. 4. They can also be dropped off at one of four voting assistance centers on Election Day between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., or at a one of four local drop boxes.
This year’s election will decide on several key leadership positions, and on an important school bond that is in response to local growth. All registered voters are encouraged to hear the drum, get inspired, and mark a ballot.