Some people might think that Tuesday was a step backwards because Obama won. Others might consider it a step backwards because Chris Buttars won again. The real step backwards was that 59,000 fewer people voted in Utah this year than in 2004. That is not just lower percentage turnout, that’s lower numbers.
Mark Thomas with the Lieutenant Governor’s Office says . . . the ballot generally lacked hotly contested local races.
“There are people who feel that this is a Republican state and my vote won’t make a difference,” Thomas says. “But I think that’s not a very good attitude in the sense that there are a lot of other races that do affect you, and perhaps even more so in your day to day life, on a local level.”
We need hotly contested local races on a consistent basis to bring people out to the polls. Too many of our elected officials are chosen at the state and county Republican Party conventions where only the elected delegates get to vote. It cannot be considered anything like a democracy when our officials are chosen by the votes of less than 1% of the population (the delegates) who were given the chance to vote based on the support of the 2% of our population who attended their neighborhood caucus meetings.
I’m almost tempted to suggest that the Republicans be allowed (required?) to place two candidates for every office in Davis and Utah counties just so that the general election will have some real meaning. Perhaps better would be a general rule that in a county where more than 70% of the elected officials come from a single party that party be required to field two candidates in the general election. After all, the first Tuesday in November was supposed to be a choice, not a ratification.