Elections

Elections are the ultimate way that the people can hold their representatives in government accountable in a democratic republic like ours.

Our elections should be fair, secure, equally accessible to all eligible voters, free of unnecessary barriers, trustworthy, and verifiable.

What the Constitution says about elections

Article I, Section 4, Clause 1: The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

For federal elections, states have power to create laws that govern how and when those elections take place. The Constitution gives Congress authority to override these laws as necessary.

When it comes to protecting people's right to vote, state lawmakers have a solemn obligation to provide this protection via state law. If they fail to do so, it's the constitutional right and duty of Congress to supersede the states in order to provide those guarantees. The Voting Rights Act and other federal laws passed by Congress were appropriate and necessary exercises of this power. They enfranchised millions of citizens.

I seek to support and expand voting rights protections in state law here in Utah, and to make it unnecessary for federal law to override us. I support federal intervention in any state that falls short, because the right to vote is the foundation of all other rights of a free people, and no state ought to have power to infringe that right.

Gerrymandering

I firmly oppose gerrymandering and consider it to be an abuse of the political redistricting power, no matter which party does it.

Utah's legislators, including our current representative in our district, gerrymandered our state in the recent redistricting process. This abuse of the public trust is one reason I decided to run for office.

I want to reform Utah's redistricting process by requiring maps to meet a statistical standard of partisan fairness before they may be adopted by the legislature. I believe this would be a constitutionally permitted constraint on the legislature's power to do redistricting.

For a more in-depth explanation of my views on this subject, follow this link.

Voting systems and technologies

  • I strongly support voting by mail.
    Utah does it remarkably well. It fosters participation, automatically creates a paper trail, is secure, and is party-neutral. Paper ballots are nigh impossible to forge or counterfeit, and the system only allows one ballot to be cast per voter. If you mistrust the way that mail-in voting is conducted, I strongly encourage you to talk with your county elections officials, with an open mind, to learn how the process is safeguarded.
  • I do not support internet voting.
    Seriously, bad idea. See more details at this link.
  • Voter ID is a solution in search of a problem. In reality, impersonation fraud at the polls is essentially nil, and legitimate voters are much more likely to be turned away from the polls for having the wrong form of ID, or having forgotten it, etc. And in a vote-by-mail state like Utah, it's basically pointless since ballots are filled out and signed at home.
  • Regular audits are good; off-the-cuff audits are bad. The counties already conduct regular audits of software, voting machines, and results. Risk-limiting audits are good practice. But a candidate or party who's simply upset about losing an election should not be able to waste public funds on frivolous audits to try to cast doubt on the outcome.

Voting methods

Our traditional way of voting is plurality voting where each voter has one vote to cast in a given race, and the candidate who gets the most votes wins. (Sometimes a separate runoff election is required if no candidate gets a high enough percentage of the votes.)

This method is familiar to us, but has a lot of bad side effects. Candidates and voters tend to become polarized and negative towards each other. Voters are discouraged from voting for their favorite, but instead vote against the candidate they least want to win, even if it means voting for another undesirable choice. And runoff elections are expensive.

I support replacing our plurality-based elections with better methods. Here are a few:

  • Ranked-choice voting (RCV) is popular lately and some places in Utah have tried it out. You rank the candidates in order from most favorite to least, and a fairly complicated process is used to figure out who wins.
  • Approval voting (IV) is less complicated than RCV. It's a lot like the way we currently vote, but you can vote for as many candidates as you like (no ranking). The winner is the candidate who receives the most votes, as with plurality, but voters don't have to worry about wasting or splitting a vote.
  • STAR voting is where you rate candidates with a certain number of stars, like you'd do for an online review of a restaurant. Winning candidates are those who get the best overall ratings.

My top preference is STAR, followed by Approval, and then RCV, based on relatively minor advantages that the former have over the latter. Any of them are better than plurality. They encourage positive campaigning and reaching out to a broader base of voters instead of special interests, and they avoid costly runoffs or spoiler candidates or lesser-of-two-evils decisions.

If elected, I will strive to help these new voting methods become available for use in all of our elections.

The 2020 election

The election of 2020 was remarkably secure and free of meaningful fraud. Allegations of widespread fraud have turned out to be unfounded, after examination by experts, courts, election officials, and the press. Many who did allege fraud have had to concede that they were unable to prove their claims.

Some dishonest people continue to allege significant fraud, and their repetitive rehearsal of their lies has unfortunately misled well-intentioned followers into believing their claims. I have no patience for the liars, but I extend my compassion and concern for those who are victims of their falsehoods.

It's also important to note that no official elected in 2020 has been willing to call their own election into question, even though they may pretend that fraud somehow happened for other races on the same ballots that legitimately elected them. A discerning person can see that their actions speak louder than their words.

For some outside perspectives on the claims of voter/election fraud, see [1], [2], [3].