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Election officials say ‘do your homework’ before casting your ballot

A man submits his ballot at a drop box at the Salt Lake County government building in Salt Lake City, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. Chris Samuels, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Voters across the state are set to receive their mail-in ballots any day, which will feature a number of high profile races. But depending on where you live, there’s bound to be some items on the ballot that you may not be familiar with. The good news is that resources are available to help you make an informed choice prior to casting a vote.  

Doing your homework

If yard signs are any indication, most people are aware that we’re in a presidential election year. Voters are also choosing who will ultimately succeed Gary Herbert as the next Governor of Utah. But what about, you know, the other stuff.

“There are initiatives and referendums, depending on where you live,” explains Utah County Clerk/Auditor, Emilia Powers Gardner. “All elections are local.”

She says don’t feel bad if you’re not up-to-speed on everything when you get your ballot. Lets face it, there’s a lot of different positions, propositions and amendments that can be hard to follow. So what do you do?

“Voter information pamphlets are very easy to find online,” says Powers Gardner. “For the state, you can go to Vote.Utah.Gov. For each county, you go to your website.”

Change of government on the ballot

For the sake of simplicity, lets pretend you’re a Utah County voter. When you get your ballot, you’ll see, things like: County Surveyor, County Treasurer and Proposition 9, which deals with a potential change of county government.

“Proposition 9 is the opportunity to change from a three-member commission to an executive council, or mayor-council form of government,” explains Utah County Commissioner Tanner Ainge.

He says if you vote “yes” for the proposition, then you are in favor of switching to a part-time council, with members elected from five different geographic districts with one full-time county mayor.

With dozens of other amendments and county seats on ballots across the state, it’s best to take time to peruse your counties voter information pamphlet or guide so you can fill out your ballot with confidence.