Early voting is already underway for municipal elections in Utah, and yet a surprisingly large number of registered voters are completely unaware that a campaign season is even underway. At least that is what I am finding as I talk to hundreds of voters in South Davis County. If this municipal primary election is similar to years past, fewer than one in five registered voters will show up at the polls.
The problem is not a lack of communication. South Davis cities have repeatedly publicized voting dates and locations and the candidates are working hard to get the word out. Surely you’ve seen the campaign signs on every street corner in the county.
The issue is an incorrect understanding that off-year elections have much less impact on the daily lives of voters than more-publicized partisan elections.
I contend that nothing could be further from the truth. To prove my point, I offer the following multiple-choice quiz for local voters. Don’t tune out now. There are only three questions:
1)How often do you get a drink of water, drive through an intersection, or flush the toilet?
A) Every day
C) On occasion, but only during even-numbered years
2)Who is primarily responsible for insuring that these and most other local services are paid for and work reliably?
A) Local elected officials and boards
B) The US Congress
C) Barack Obama
3)What is one the most important things you can do between now and August 13:
A) Find out about your local candidates and vote for your choices.
B) Just about anything other than spend 10 minutes (max) at the polling station.
C) Shut yourself in the basement and hope things turn out alright when you emerge in 2014.
Congratulations. I’m certain that you emerged from this test as an AAA local citizen voter. Primary Election Day is August 13th throughout Utah. Check your city’s website for information about voting places, times, and candidates. And please vote.
-John Pitt, a candidate for Bountiful City Council