Letter to the Editor: Will of the electorate
While forcing voters living in small, rural communities to vote by absentee ballot maybe be technically legal it is almost surely more than technically unethical, ripe for election manipulation, and can be viewed as virtual disenfranchisement of rural voters.
In Emery County the choice was presented to voters in some small communities as either vote by absentee ballot or drive the 25 or 30 miles to the county seat up to 10 days prior to an election to vote.
Voting by absentee ballot should be an option afforded to the voters to facilitate their participation in the system; voting by absentee ballot places an individual's vote in jeopardy of being discounted and nullified for the flimsiest of reasons (as was highlighted during the 2000 presidential elections) and having to traverse such distances as described places an unreasonable burden on voters at a time when we should be making it easier for individuals to vote and should be bolstering the electorate's confidence in the electoral system.
I have been informed the voter turnout in Emery township, one of the communities being asked to relinquish their right to appear personally at the polls, is traditionally 70-80 percent, which is a community statistic we should be heralding and not a community we should be penalizing.
Although I was initially very critical of our county commission over their purported position concerning limiting voting in the towns of Emery and Clawson to voting by absentee ballot only I found, after attending the county commission meeting on May 16, myself applauding their final decision and the weight they gave to the will of the people both directly and indirectly affected.
In this time when distrust of government and elected officials is rampant it is refreshing to see that ours are willing to conform to the will of the electorate. I hope they continue to take council from the people who elected them and will continue to support the right of every individual to appear at the polls in person to cast their vote.