Swanson: Don’t Snub Local Elections, Go Vote

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People march up to the Utah State Capitol during Women's March on the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City, Utah on Monday Jan. 23, 2017. (Rishi Deka, Daily Utah Chronicle)

A lot of you may not be aware that this Tuesday, Nov. 7, is Election Day in the United States. I’m sure you many of you can recall how much adults emphasized the importance of voting and making your voice heard when you turn 18 and earn the right to do so.

For the vast majority of us, we have this opportunity and, unfortunately, do not take advantage of it.

According to Pew Research based on information from the 2016 election, millennials are still the generation that votes the least, with only 49.4 percent of eligible voters turning out.

On the bright side, this is an improvement over the 2012 election, where only 46.4 percent of eligible millennial voters came to the polls.

Despite the fact that the big presidential election was last year, it’s still important that you take the time to attend your local voting station this coming Tuesday.

Along with any city, Salt Lake City comes with its issues and problems that we leave to the community at large to help remedy. That’s why it’s important for us to elect the best community leaders to positions of office.

Some of the more prominent and important issues for citizens and residents of the Salt Lake Valley include homelessness, air quality and the maintenance of the city’s parks and attractions.

These Salt Lake-specific issues are being debated along with general political talking points like taxes, business and environmental impact.

Controversial topics for Salt Lake City such as Operation Rio Grande are also at the forefront of this election, and the way the cities in the valley approach them is at the mercy of the city council members we elect this year.

What is at stake with this election is not just the nebulous group of topics I mentioned before that come up every year for every city, there are also issues at stake the effect the livelihood of University of Utah students, or any young person who lives in the city.

The University of Utah prides itself in its status as a commuter school, meaning that many of the students who attend the school rely heavily on public transportation to get where they need to go.

This primarily entails the buses and the TRAX lines. One of the core topics of debate for this election cycle is the potential expansion of public transport in Salt Lake City. If you’re a student who takes the bus or TRAX every day like I do, the outcome to this election could be pivotal to how and where we can go.

Affordable housing in the city is also at the center of this election, primarily focusing on the homeless in the city as well as the young adults and university students who struggle to find cheap and safe housing in the area.

There are also some big positions up for grabs this November like a seat in the House of Representatives, which used to be Jason Chaffetz’s seat. He is not running for re-election this cycle.

The next mayor of Millcreek will also be decided with this election as well. So for those interested with the interests of local and national politics in mind, it’s important that you are out there and you encourage others to vote along with you.

The nearest voting center to the university will be at Trolley Square at 600 S. and 700 E.

There are also voting centers at River’s Bend Senior Center, the Salt Lake City Government Center and the First Congregational Church.

It will be different if you’re voting in other cities like West Valley or Sandy, so if you live there please check your local voting stations.

Be sure to take advantage of your right to change and choose the course of action for our community and remember to go out and vote this upcoming Tuesday.

letters@chronicle.utah.edu 

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