Today is Green Blog Action Day over at Green Change. The topic for today is electoral reform, which is addressed in the Green Party’s platform. It will be interesting to read from bloggers on Green Change from all over the country on the topic of electoral reform. My contribution to the Green Blog Action Day today is to provide a summary of electoral issues in Utah, including bills up for adoption during this year’s Legislative Session.
The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, that resulted in granting corporations the same constitutional rights as people have, has, in essence, made a mockery of campaign finance laws and election laws in general. We have before us, then, greater challenges than ever before in the world of electoral politics.
One of the biggest issues at the forefront in Utah has been election fraud, an issue that many states have faced. Voters have found in recent years that their votes haven’t counted or they weren’t even able to vote, or that the electronic voting machines were flawed. Greens, such as David Cobb, 2004 Green Party Presidential Candidate, have been at the forefront of demanding vote recounts in elections where fraud was suspected. "Either every vote is sacred, or democracy is a sham."~ David Cobb, December 2009
Many readers may remember the Utah election news of 2006 that made national headlines, news that cost one brave Utah Elections Clerk his job. This video clip says it all:
Election Integrity is the focus of Utah: Count Votes!, which has a number of documents posted at its site on election laws in Utah. Created by renowned Mathematician Kathy Dopp (Green who ran for Summit County Elections Clerk in 2006), the site is filled with accounts, facts and evidence of election fraud in Utah’s elections history:
The EAC is an independent entity, established by the Help America Vote Act to help ensure election integrity in the United States. More bills before the Utah Legislature are listed towards the end of this post.
Election integrity issues are not unique to national and state elections in Utah. The ACLU of Utah reported election irregularities in the Ogden Municpal election of 2007.
The Governor’s Commission on Strengthening Utah’s Democracy published a series of recommendations in the areas of campaign finance, voting accessibility, and enforcement, presented to the Governor in November 2009:
- Recommendation for Requiring Disclosure of Employment Data
- Recommendation for Requiring Mandatory Electronic Filing
- Recommendation for Overseas Military Voting Reform
- Recommendation for “Revolving Door” Provision
- Recommendation for Elections, Lobbying, & Campaign Finance Enforcement Commission
- Recommendation for Campaign Finance Reform
- Recommendation for Making Voter Registration Automatic & Portable
- Recommendation for Improving the Voter Registration Process
There are a number of other bills being addressed on elections and campaigns in Utah, some listed below (click on the link to read the bill).
HB0079 – Valid Voter Identification Amendments
HB0161 – Voter Registration Amendments
HB0044 – Referendum Ballot Proposition Amendments
HB0244 – Provisional Ballot Amendments for Unregistered Voters
HB0245 – Voter Challenge Amendments
HB0254 – Voter Identification Amendments
HB0258 – Voting Precinct Boundaries
HB0358 – Voting by Mail
SB0053 – Voter Challenge Revisions
HB0368 – Election Day Voting Centers
SB0018 – Election Modifications
SB0119 – Special Elections Modifications
SB0195 – Elections, Lobbying, and Campaign Finance Enforcement Commission
On Campaign Finance:
HB0056 – Amended Campaign Financial Statements
HB0059 – Campaign Finance Revisions
HB0124 and HB0124S01 – Campaign Funds Expenditure Restrictions
HB0160 – Campaign Finance Provisions
It is interesting to note at the bottom of the page on Elections bills, these two bills that were "abandoned" (and therefore have no link to their texts): "Oversight of Local Elections" and "Same Day Voter Registration"
Utah has interesting and challenging issues before its Legislators at this time. Democracy is eminently at stake. It is important that citizens closely monitor election bills, contact /visit their representatives to register their desires on issues, write letters to the editors of their local newspapers, visit the capitol during the legislative session, and attend any opportunities afforded to citizens to learn more about the legislative process.
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