Utah Voters Deciding Important Races Today

Utah Voters Deciding Important Races Today

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Sammy Linebaugh reportingThe polls are open in communities across the state. It's election day in an off year, which typically means fewer numbers of citizens heading to the polls.

Political observers remind us, a so-called "off" election year may not come with the glitz of a presidential election year, but in terms of the impact on our daily lives, these races are every bit as important.

Prof. Matt Burbank/ U of U Political Science Dept.: "These are the kinds of local issues that really affect people in terms of their tax structure, the nature of their community, the kinds of things people say all the time that they care about."

Professor Matt Burbank with the University of Utah's political science department says there are always meaty races at the municipal level because the decisions these candidates and council members make impact everything from property taxes to water bills, to how the open space around us is developed.

Sandy City's mayoral race could really drive people to the polls. One of the central issues there is the so-called "gravel pit" question -- how to proceed with development of that area.

The two candidates are offering different options. Challenger Gary Forbush opposes a plan supported by incumbent Tom Dolan to bring in a Wal-Mart and Lowe's Home Improvement, with housing, restaurants and other shops, to that open swath of land.

So that issue, among others, is putting today's elections front and center in Sandy.

In Provo, a rematch from four years ago is taking place. Dave Bailey, a retired firefighter, is again trying to unseat incumbent Lewis Billings. It came down to the wire four years ago, and has the makings for a tight race again today.

Also, Murray, West Jordan, and Layton could have some nail-bitters at the mayoral level. And there are a number of council seats up for grabs.

For a closer look at what's on the ballot in your community, check your local city's website or call your local recorder.

Polls are open until 8 pm. And we'll have election results here on ksl.com tomorrow morning.

You may notice some changes at your polling stations, designed to improve disabled access. That is a big push in the state elections office and in conjunction with the Disability Law Center. The goal is 100 percent accessibility according to Department of Justice standards, by the 2006 elections.

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