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Political parties urging Utahns to vote by mail

By Alex Cabrero | Posted - Sep. 23, 2010 at 10:01 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- With Election Day less than two months away, you're probably seeing a lot more political ads lately.

There is a lot of back and forth between the two major parties, but there is one thing both Democrats and Republicans agree on this year: getting voters to vote by mail.

"We've collected between 20,000 and 30,000 forms, and people really like it," says Thomas Wright, chairman of Salt Lake County's Republican Party.

Wright, several campaign volunteers and even candidates have been busy lately going door to door to get registered Republicans signed up to vote by mail.

"I mean, life gets in the way. It snows, people don't make it to the polls; and by getting your ballot in the mail, it makes it easier to get to vote," Wright says.

Forms are already filled out, so voters just have to sign the paper.

This is the first year Salt Lake County Republicans are trying this approach, and it's an idea they admit they took from the Salt Lake County Democratic Party.

Democrats have been using this strategy for a few years.

"I don't have any beef in saying they've done a better job of it. But after this year, we're going to take the lead in this initiative, and we're excited about that," Wright said.

"It definitely worked for them," he continued. "We've lost elections in Salt Lake County. We've become the minority party in Salt Lake County."

Weston Clark, the chairman of Salt Lake County's Democratic Party, smiled when KSL News asked him about the Republicans using their strategy.

"I'm glad they are admitting we have some good ideas now and then," Clark laughed.

Clark has also been busy going door to door with volunteers and candidates in an attempt to get voters to vote by mail. He says it's a strategy that has worked well for his party in the county, and voters like it.

"They can sit down at home with their literature, look over things, decide who they're going to vote for and mail it back. It makes it really easy," Clark said.

No matter what party wins, both sides agree higher voter turnout is good for everybody.

"That's our primary goal, is to get more people active and involved," Clark said.

"We have one of the lowest voter turnouts in the country," Wright said, "and we want that to improve. It's better for our democracy when people are participating."

E-mail: acabrero@ksl.com

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Alex Cabrero

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