SignpostView-01How important is it to vote in state elections?

Many citizens will only cast a vote every four years for national elections. Some believe the presidential races are the only elections that matter. And while these elections are important, it is also vital to concentrate on the local offices. Our state governors, city mayors and officials make the decisions and laws in our hometown. This directly affects us.

When we cast a vote, we are taking a stand to make our voices heard. If we have an opinion about the way our towns should be run, voting on who our leaders will be is an excellent way of sharing that opinion.

Jenn Gonnelly, co-president of the League of Women Voters in Utah, says participating in elections is essential and that only 48 percent of those eligible in Utah turn out to vote. When people complain that their voice doesn’t matter in a primarily Republican state, she argues that until you actually vote, you won’t know if your vote made a difference.

Because fewer than half the citizens are voting, the majority of the state does not have a say in what is happening to our government. According to Gonnelly, this also mirrors the average in the nation. In order to change this, more people need to cast a ballot and voice their opinions.

The process is becoming easier each year. Not only do we have the option of showing up on Election Day, we also have the week prior to Election Day to cast a ballot and mail-in voting has made participation even more convenient. Life is busy, but it is essential to vote, and we believe that if you make voting easier, more people will participate.

Becoming informed of who our candidates are helps us make the best decisions to fit our lifestyles. Organizations like the League of Women Voters can help with these decisions through resources such as their voters guide, where they have compiled answers to what they believe are the most essential questions they asked each candidate.

Having this information is useful because it helps us gain a better understanding of who our future government officials are. These candidates took the time to answer the questions because they want us to make the best decisions. We have the opportunity to speak with and get to know our candidates. They want to hear from us and need to know our opinions.

With voting season just around the corner, now is the time to become informed on the different candidates seeking office.

Election Day is Nov. 4 and early voting starts this week. The offices up for election in Utah include a two-year term for attorney general, all seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Utah Legislature and school boards on a district basis.

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