FARMINGTON — Early voting for the Nov. 8 municipal election is now underway across the Top of Utah.
But the question remains, is what municipalities are having to spend on the exercise that attracts such few voters, worthy of the taxpayer’s investment?
Registered voters may vote early at the city office of the city in which they reside from now through Friday, Nov. 4, according to officials.
“(The early-voting turnout) certainly isn’t as good as you would like to see it for the money the city has to spend to provide it,” Layton City Recorder Theida Wellman said.
The service, at a total cost to the city of about $5,000, draws roughly 18 early-voters a day, or since Oct. 24 when early-voting began a total of about 75 early-voters.
There were a total of 193 people who cast early ballots in Layton’s Sept. 13 primary, which had a total voter turnout of 7 percent.
The low voter turnout in Layton, the largest city in Davis County with a population of about 70,000 residents, officials say, can be attributed to few political issues.
However, those who do participate in the early-voting process, Wellman said, appreciate the timeliness of the service.
“They can walk in and vote. There is absolutely no wait,” she said.
Kaysville has had 135 early ballots cast as of Monday, according to Kaysville City Recorder Linda Ross.
But one week, rather than two weeks of the early voting, she said, would be sufficient based on the number of voters who take advantage of the service.
“Some days are steady,” Ross said.
But there are other days when the city will average only one voter per hour, she said, resulting in a lot of sitting time for polls workers.
Reducing the service from two weeks to one week would save the city some money, she said.
Early voting continues at area city offices through the close of business Friday.
But while some city leaders question the overall value of the state-mandated early voting, one city in which early-voting draws more participation is Syracuse, a city experiencing a hotbed of political activity.
There have been, as of Monday morning, 181 people that have cast early-ballots in Syracuse, City Recorder Cassie Brown said Monday.
There were 218 who cast early ballots for the Sept. 13 primary, she said.
With a week’s worth of early-voting still to take place the city projects having between 350 to 400 people cast early ballots for the Nov. 8 general election, Brown said.
The Sept. 13 primary drew a total of 9.3 percent of the city’s total number of registered voters.
Compared to the number of voters who cast early ballots in the 2009 municipal general election, which included a mayor’s race, Brown said, the vote totals this year for the three open council seats are “tracking pretty good.”
Brown said she appreciates early-voting, a service the city’s office staff helps provide.
“We’re not paying poll workers to sit here all day,” she said.