LAYTON -- Fed up with apathy toward municipal elections, a Layton man has devised a plan: offer people prizes to get involved.
Jordan Squire has created a website - paystovote.com -where residents can learn more about the mayoral and city council candidates in Layton, a city of 68,000 about 25 miles north of Salt Lake City, the Deseret News reports. Squire compiled information about two candidates for mayor and four candidates for City Council.
People can earn points by reading about candidates, attending a candidate's event or bringing friends to the website. The more points a person gets, the better the odds of winning a prize following the Nov. 5 elections.
The top prize is a 64-piece toolset worth $40. Other prizes include gift cards to restaurants and grocery stores. The prizes were donated by local businesses who also want to see more voter turnout.
"It's kind of a grassroots way to say, `Hey, find out about the candidates before you vote, and here's a little bonus for doing so,'" Squire told the Deseret News. ""I don't think that people realize how much effect these local leaders have on our daily lives."
Voter turnout has typically been dismal for these types of municipal elections in Utah. In 2009, just one-fourth of registered voters in Layton cast ballots. In the August primary, just 11 percent voted.
Both mayoral candidates like Squire's idea, which they think can only help bring more attention to their race. Bob Stevenson said it's difficult to get attention in non-general elections.
"It's so hard and expensive to try to get your information out," Stevenson told the Deseret News.
Mayoral candidate Jory Francis said people should realize that local politics directly impacts schools, parks and taxes. On that front, he hopes the website will help people "get engaged and realize the effect that municipal government is having on their lives," he said.
Squire said he's not bribing anyone to vote, but rather giving them a nudge to get educated.
"Maybe just a little push to get people to read a little bit more and get outside their comfort zone on candidates they typically wouldn't learn about," Squire told the Deseret News.