It's time for a fresh look at how we govern ourselves. It makes no sense to stay locked in an endless battle between "conservative" and "liberal" ideologies when we have real problems that need solving. The United Utah Party promotes key reforms that will end our bickering status quo and create a space for solutions that work for everyone.
Here are some of those key reforms:
Republican arguments against more serious investment in education no longer stand up to scrutiny and Democrats have been distracted by other priorities. The United Utah Party supports meaningful and accountable investment now.
Ranked Choice Voting (RCV)
RCV simply means that when you go to vote, you don't have to just choose a single candidate for an office. You have the option to rank candidates in your order of preference--first choice, second choice, etc... This small change in the voting booth has a big impact on how elections play out.
The way that political districts are drawn has a big impact on who gets elected. Districts should drawn to fairly reflect the interests and needs of the citizenry, not to perpetuate the power of one political party over another.
Taxpayer Money Only for Open Primaries
In 2017, the Utah County and Wasatch County clerks admitted that their offices had made big mistakes. Their offices had sent GOP primary ballots to tens of thousands of unaffiliated voters who weren’t supposed to receive them. An election was being held but these voters were not allowed to participate.
That is the byproduct of the Republican Party closing its primary to most voters in Utah. This mistake underscores the reality that Utah elections have created the disenfranchised voter.
Who is this disenfranchised voter? It is the person who is legally qualified to vote – meeting age and residency requirements – but is not allowed to participate in the primary election unless his or her party is holding a contested race. The disenfranchised voter also includes the unaffiliated voter who has chosen not to affiliate with any party. Those voters are punished by our own state government for their lack of affiliation with the Republican Party. Yet, they still must pay for that election with their taxpayer money.
Utah Needs an Independent Election Commission
One of the most fundamental traits of a representative democracy is a process of free and fair elections that offers a level playing field for all candidates and parties. Americans continually see examples in other nations of rigged elections, manipulation of election data, or the imposition of high barriers for opposition parties and candidates. In the United States, our political philosophy of fairness rejects tactics. But we need to do more to maintain a free and fair electoral process, particularly in Utah.
A case in point is the experience of the United Utah Party in attempting to certify as a party and field a candidate for the Third District Congressional Election. The governor and lieutenant governor, through the state elections office, tried their best to keep the United Utah Party and its candidate off the ballot. They created a process that cut out new parties. When a new party formed anyway, they delayed our certification and used taxpayer money to block competition from our party.
Campaign Finance Limits
Setting limits on how much support candidates can receive from individual donors levels the playing field. It requires candidates to seek a broad base rather than just a few wealthy backers. It increases participation and reduces cynicism.
More Non-Partisan Elections
More public offices need the freedom to operate without the baggage of partisan labels--sheriffs, attorneys general, school boards... These and many others should be non-partisan elections. These public office holders need to be able to operate above the partisan fray and focus on solving local problems without being trapped in national ideological squabbles.
In Utah, the state pays the cost of administering primary elections. To participate in a Republican primary, however, you have to be a registered Republican. This means that people who choose, for whatever reason, not to register as a Republican have to pay for the primary, but have no voice in who becomes the Republican nominee. This is especially problematic in a state where the Republican nominee often runs unopposed or is a shoo-in for the office because of the way districts have been drawn. If parties want closed primaries, they should pay for the election themselves.
Politicians that stay in office too long are corrupted by their position. They develop an oversized notion of their own importance and become more concerned with staying in power than solving problems. Term limits are a simple way to prevent these abuses.