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Nobody Home: Utah Town Forgets To Hold Election

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A man casts his ballot during an election.  (credit: Matej Divizna/Getty Images)

A man casts his ballot during an election. (credit: Matej Divizna/Getty Images)

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A tiny Utah town had to skip an election earlier this month because part-time officials forgot to advertise or prepare for it — and it wasn’t the town’s first election flub.

Wallsburg, population 275 in the Wasatch Mountains 40 miles from Salt Lake City, failed to schedule an election two years ago, and city officials had to be appointed then.

They were supposed to go up for election Nov. 5, but once again, Wallsburg forgot to get things going, according to Wasatch County officials. The Salt Lake Tribune first reported on the missed election.

“They didn’t advertise” to draw candidates out of the woodwork and “they just went on without doing anything,” County Clerk Brent Titcomb said Wednesday. “Close to the election day, they called to ask what they should do.”

The leaders of Wallsburg were told by state elections officials to keep serving until an election can be held in two years.

“We will remember them in 2015,” Titcomb said. “They will definitely have an election in 2015.”

Wallsburg’s mayor and four city council members had no hidden agenda in letting the election slide; they just forgot, he said.

Wallsburg is so small it doesn’t have a website or paid staff, and nobody answered the phone at the town’s empty office on Wednesday — which is used only for official meetings.

Titcomb said the town’s mayor is Jay Hortin, who didn’t return phone messages left Wednesday by The Associated Press.

The mayor was described by his father as an electrician who may have been unavailable because he was out working.

Of his son extending his mayoral duties, Frank Hortin said, “Somebody’s got to do it.”

Frank Hortin said he had no clue how town officials forgot to hold an election, adding, “We probably wouldn’t have anybody around to get elected anyway.”

The town empties out on weekdays because “there’s no work around here,” Frank Hortin said. “We have a couple of little shops, but people go out of town for work — I drove to Salt Lake for 20 years.”

Wallsburg is a mile-high town in the Wasatch Mountains 4 miles from Deer Creek Reservoir. In winter, there’s only one way to drive into the town — or out of it. It was incorporated in 1917, according to the Utah League of Cities and Towns.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 

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