On Nov. 17 the canvass for recent elections was released and voting results made final.
The canvass also made one question final (for those that were still holding out), that vote by mail is supremely successful in Utah County cities, and voters will increase their turnout because of it.
The turnout due to vote by mail increased by 100 percent in Orem with nearly 33 percent casting ballots versus the last non-mayoral general election, which had a 16.4 percent voter turnout. It seems that in the 2015 election, the city has made leaps and bounds with its government and we're excited for what awaits them.
Alpine, Cedar Hills, Lehi and Vineyard also conducted vote-by-mail elections with significant success in their respective communities as well, especially when you consider a city like Lehi with half the population of Provo came in with only 438 fewer votes in the countywide vote on Prop. 1.
Just to add some perspective: Alpine had 48 percent voter turnout; Cedar Hills, 39 percent; Lehi, 31 percent; Vineyard, 61 percent and Orem, 32 percent.
Meanwhile in cities that have yet to adopt vote by mail, Provo scrounged up 18 percent voter turnout, while Saratoga Springs had 19 percent, Eagle Mountain had 16 percent and American Fork had 23 percent.
Springville stood out among the cities with 40 percent, which could possibly be attributed to the proposed bond measure for a city aquatic center that passed with 60 percent of the vote.
It can only be anticipated that participation from residents in vote-by-mail cities will increase, leaving voters in other cities with three choices: turn out in greater droves (unlikely), adopt the vote-by-mail system, or expect your area's voice to be much diminished on the issues that affect you the greatest.
Some residents are already campaigning for their cities to make the change. A petition on change.org addressed to Provo's municipal council is asking for the city to adopt vote by mail and plan for budgetary items accordingly.
Earlier in October, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox saw the vote-by-mail trend as being a work in progress that so far has been successful with a few tweaks in the system that may be made during the next legislative session.
Other concerns revolving around an informed electorate have now witnessed that the vote-by-mail system has actually enabled voters to more deeply study issues and candidates. Utah Valley is getting a more engaged public.
To bypass vote by mail or some form of adapted voting method for residents in future elections would seem to be a move by leaders to suppress increased input in the community, rather than promote democracy.
We will always treasure Election Day and the ability to walk into one's designated location, cast a ballot, and proudly sport an "I Voted" sticker. But for those whose life constraints limit their ability to do that, it only seems appropriate to provide them with alternate options if they are available — and they are.