Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall has a message for voters: Don't stop at the top of your ballot.
She said in 2020, there were 18,000 Salt Lake County residents who voted in the mayoral election but didn't vote for any County Council candidates. The Democratic candidate in that race lost by fewer than 1,200 votes, she said, and the Democratic candidate for county assessor lost by only 6,000 votes.
"Every one of these races is important not just to our country, but to our city," Mendenhall said. "Please do not stop at the top of your ballot."
Mendenhall shared her thoughts on the importance of voting outside of the Salt Lake City-County Building on Thursday, just before submitting her ballot in the dropbox across the street at the Salt Lake City Public Library.
She was joined by Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City Council Chairman Dan Dugan, and other City Council members, who also submitted their ballots at the dropbox.
The event was not city-sponsored and was conducted 150 feet away from the ballot box in accordance with state law, a news release states.
Mendenhall said she's proud to have voted for Suzanne Harrison, who is running for an at-large county council seat; Salt Lake City Council District 1 incumbent Arlyn Bradshaw; Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, who is seeking his fourth term in office; Rosie Rivera, who in 2017 became the first woman elected as Salt Lake County sheriff; and Salt Lake county clerk candidate Lannie Chapman.
"Salt Lake City voters deserve elected officials who will put good policy over partisan politics every time," Mendenhall said. "Please vote, and hand in your ballot as soon as possible."
In her remarks, Romero referred to 2018 ballot initiatives, when issues like Medicaid expansion for medical cannabis were on the ballot. People cast their votes for the big issues, Romero said, but not necessarily for other listed initiatives.
Now, Romero said she fears extremists who want to limit who can vote and how.
"That's why it's so critical this election cycle that we all vote," Romero said. "I'm really nervous about what could happen this midterm. The elections office in Salt Lake County changes hands and the freedoms we have today will not be there in the future."
City Council Chairman Daniel Dugan added that democracy requires active participation. While protesting, hanging banners and writing letters to the editor are all important ways for people to project their voices, "the real voice is not heard until you hit the 'submit' button and vote. The candidates you most disagree with are counting on your silence."