I always thought I was a good citizen who always went to vote, but then I realized I have never voted in the tiny local mid-midterm elections before. This is especially silly because, as a Democrat in Utah County, the local elections are really the only times my vote can even make a difference.
So I did some research on the local city council elections. Three city council spots were up for grabs. I found an election guide, but it was a little confusing. It appears that there was an error made in the cutting and pasting of the article, so in the middle of what appears to be Pinkham’s blurb, Welton’s email is given as contact information. You can’t get more local than that, I guess.
Then I looked up to see if there were any county-wide initiatives I needed to know about, and found out that there was proposition to institute a small tax to pay for transportation improvements. I was able to find and read clear arguments for and against the proposition–before encountering less circumspect opinions about it on Facebook.
I also tried to see if there was anything state-wide by searching vote.utah.gov, which turned out to be the most frustrating website of all three. The method of inserting addresses is ridiculous and took several tries and guessing what they were really looking for (in Utah, where so many addresses are N/S/E/W coordinates instead of street names, the website does not accept any N/S/E/W, asking instead for street names). Then when I clicked “Sample ballot, candidate profiles and issue information,” it got glitchy and provided me with none of these. Luckily I was only asked to vote for city council members and the transportation initiative, but I didn’t find that out until I saw the actual ballot. I guess the Lt. Governor’s office, which is in charge of elections, doesn’t sweat it too much during odd-numbered years.
Once I got to the polling place at the city civic center, everything went smoothly. The operation was was tiny, friendly, low-tech, and only took five minutes. I voted with pen on paper and folded my paper to put in a box. Now that I know, I think I’ll do it all the time. Because while the big stuff at the state and national levels is important, I live most of my day-to-day life in a small place where small issues can make a difference. And anyway, I don’t know when I’ll get a chance to give a governor or senator or president a piece of my mind, but I can go knock on the door of whoever won the 2015 election.