The initiative process for Utah citizens is too restrictive.
While the initiative process has gotten out of hand in a few states, tying the hands of legislatures and causing enormous expense both in administering elections and defending legal challenges, the extreme difficulty of placing an initiative on the Utah ballot needs to be addressed. The possibility of a citizen’s initiative is an important motivating factor for legislators to act, and knowing the slim chance of a ballot initiative becoming qualified allows legislators in Utah to be unresponsive.
Good government is from the bottom up, not from the top down.
It is time to retire the “Straight Party Line” voting option.
The straight-line, or party ticket voting option is a device that is used by the two major parties to keep smaller parties from winning “down-ballot” races. The truth is that small-party candidates are more likely to win local level races than they are to win the marquee ones, and tying the votes in those races to votes for President or Governor is a trick of the Democrats and Republicans to preserve their hegemony. At the very least, all four Utah ballot-qualified parties should appear with a straight-line option (Democrat, Republican, Libertarian and Constitution), but even better, let’s just consign it to the dustbin of history where it belongs. We have, after all, touch-screen voting – should we really be accomodating people who can’t be bothered to touch the screen more than once?
SB 34 and the Count My Vote Compromise
Senate Bill 34, passed this year and signed by the governor, is a complete mess that needs to be repealed. The entire “Count My Vote” issue, as to whether candidates are selected via caucuses or primaries, is an argument among members of the Republican party. It is an internal party matter, and should be decided by members of that party, not by the legislature.
Further, the solution doesn’t suit any party – not even the Republicans – but the legislation imposes it on everyone. Consider this – the “open primary” aspect of the compromise allows any voter to vote in any party’s primary. Now, imagine that one party isn’t having a primary – so all the members of that party get to vote in another party’s primary, possibly being able to make sure that their opponent fields the weakest possible candidate. That’s not fair, that’s not sensible, that’s not even remotely logical.
And here’s another thing – allowing petitioning to place a candidate on the primary ballot means that we will almost never not have to hold a primary. Primaries cost the state about a million dollars to conduct – money that comes from taxpayers’ pockets, yours and mine.
I call for the immediate repeal of SB 34. Further, as political parties are private organizations of citizens, I call on any party conducting a primary to pay for the cost of conducting that primary, not pass the cost to taxpayers. Conducting the general election is the duty of the state, but determining candidates is a private function that should be paid for by those conducting the process.
My other positions: