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In our opinion: Make your voice heard, Utah. Vote!

In a tumultuous year, the opportunity to cast a ballot is a relief

Yukai Peng, Deseret News

This year’s vote-by-mail election has led to record-breaking early voting, but those who have not yet cast their ballot have one more day to do so.

Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by today, Nov. 2. They may also be dropped off at a ballot drop box until 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Visit vote.utah.gov for a list of drop-off locations.

In a tumultuous year, the opportunity to cast a ballot is a relief. We, the people, are able to participate in the process of selecting leaders and shaping the future. While partisan differences exist, the beauty of a democratic republic is that all citizens are provided an equal opportunity to participate.

Utahns have voted early and voted in force. In the first week of early voting, 160,000 Utahns submitted ballots — nearly one-fourth of the total voter turnout in 2016. At this pace, Utah is on track to see record-breaking voter turnout.

While much of the conversation has been on the bid for the White House, at least equal attention should be paid to races at the state and local level. Local races and ballot measures may have a bigger impact on your life and the nation than the presidential election. It’s these contests that may be decided by a handful of votes, and all eligible voters should inform themselves and not stop at the top of the ticket.

The statewide race for the next governor of Utah. Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and his challenger, Chris Peterson, received national attention in recent weeks for a unique show of unity, even during some of the most important weeks of their campaign. Cox maintains a comfortable lead in the polls, but Peterson recently received an endorsement from Joe Biden. Win or lose, both men have shown poise and professionalism throughout their campaigns.

Other races — from state attorney general to congressional representatives to local leaders — are important in shaping Utah’s future and how it interacts with the nation. Depending on where voters live, some ballots may have 10 or more races listed.

Constitutional Amendment G has the potential to shape taxes and education funding for the state. Utah County will decide if it wants to adopt a mayor-council structure of government. School board representatives have a hand in shaping your child’s education.

Studying the candidates and the issues is essential. Being an informed voter is necessary for the health of the state.

Unlike most elections in the past, it’s possible the country will need some patience between when polls close and when races are called. It will be a breeding ground for mistrust and accusations. Keeping a level head and trusting the country’s systems is vital. The U.S. has made it through many such times. It can do so again.

And when the final election results are confirmed, each American has the duty to accept those results with respect. The foundation of a strong republic is faith in its institutions.

Make your voice heard, Utah. Vote.