October 04, 2016

Frequently Asked Questions about Voting

Frequently Asked Questions about Voting
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By The West View

By Liesa Manuel

I am a US citizen who will be at least 18 by November 8, but I am not registered to vote. How can I vote in this election?

Voting is one of the most important contributions that you can make to your community. Get registered online at www.vote.utah.gov or in person by November 1 at the Salt Lake County Clerk’s office at 2001 S State Street, #S1-200, or by October 10 for mail-in registration. (Most libraries and post offices have mail-in registration forms.) It is possible to register provisionally on Election Day (November 8), but proof of identity and address must be verifiable.

Why should I vote? There are so many candidates that I have never heard of.

True, there are a lot of candidates and they are not always easy to research, but keep three things in mind: 1) You can go to www.vote.utah.gov to view your sample ballot by typing in your address, 2) you would not invalidate a ballot if you were to skip any part of it – this is not a recommendation, just a fact, and 3) the easiest way to research the majority of candidates is to take advantage of the lieutenant governors postcard offer to receive a voter guide in your mailbox – call 801-538-1041, if you missed it. You would still need to check your sample ballot for local school board and county races. You can look up the research those candidates online, in your daily newspaper or attend a local candidate forum.

Nobody knows anything about those judges! Why do I have to vote for them?

Utah judges serve six-year terms and face retention elections every even numbered year. There is no party affiliation, and no competitive campaigning for judicial positions in Utah. Voters are simply asked to vote on whether a judge should stay in his/her position. (Very few judges ever fail a retention election.) This is all for very good reason, but it means that the average person has little awareness of judicial performance even if he/she recognizes a couple of names from news articles.

Remember, you could skip any section and still have the rest of your ballot count, but second, you do have resources to inform yourself: judges.utah.gov provides a survey conducted by the Judicial Conduct Commission. Click “Judge Reports” and select Salt Lake County from the drop down, then “View Complete List.” This information is also part of the voter guide sent out by the lieutenant governor’s office. Call 801-538-1041 if you didn’t get the postcard.

If I am a felon, can I vote?

Actually, in the state of Utah, only currently incarcerated felons are barred from voting. Voting may be a way to feel like a member of society again because it is something that a responsible citizen does.

How do I find out if I am registered? I did vote a long time ago, but maybe that was before I moved.

So easy to check: go to slco.org/clerk/elections or call 385-GOT-VOTE (385-468-8683).

I don’t vote because it is inconvenient to go to the polling place, and also it keeps changing.

Most voting is done by mail. Visit the Salt Lake County Clerk’s website to make sure that you are registered at slco.org/clerk/elections/current-election-information or call 385-468-8683. You can still vote in person if you bring ID, just use the same resources to find the polling location.