A delegate’s thoughts: Utah County Clerk/Auditor

by Lisa Anderson

Lisa Anderson is a Utah County Republican Party delegate, selected by her neighbors to look at the candidates for public office and to select which should be nominees at the party convention. She’s taken the time to not only meet the candidates but to share her impressions. Over the coming weeks, Utah Politico Hub will cross post her comments on her meetings and thoughts.

Friday, March 30, 2018, Provo Library

All three candidates were at the meet-and-greet this evening. I spent time with each candidate listening to them answer questions and giving information on their beliefs and stances.

Amelia Powers – She is a businesswoman who specializes in analyzing data to help improve business practices.

  1. Budget – She would sit down with the County Commission and then with each department head to create a cost-benefit analysis. She indicated that her experience would help the departments become more efficient.
  2. Elections – She said that the past elections have been chaotic at best and with long lines at the polls and mistakes made by poll workers and problems with poll workers delivering “garbage bags full of provisional ballots” at the end of the night, things can be better.
    1. She said she believes that currently, the employees are doing the best they can with the tools and resources they have.
    2. She said she knows she is not the smartest one in the room when working with elections and she would meet with those in the department to find out what is working and what tools/resources they would need to do their jobs better.
    3. She said that employees only have set hours in the day and it is going to take more resources/staff/technology to accomplish changes.
    4. She said with the expected growth in Utah County we need to change now to be ready for it.
    5. She said that one resource to look at is the local Universities for interns to help with changes. Also with Silicon Slopes in our County, why are we not using those resources? We either need more people to do the work or better technology. She thinks that once the department becomes more efficient it wouldn’t eliminate jobs, just make them more efficient.

Stephen “Hemi” Hemingway – Currently works for the County. He was finishing a conversation with another delegate when I approached. He greeted me warmly with a handshake and eye contact. He said he is a regular guy and told me his friends call him Hemi. He asked me what I was going to call him and I said “Hemi”.

  1. I first asked him his view on how the current election process is working. He told me of his concerns of when he ran 8 years ago for County Assessor and how that did not go well. He then said when he ran 4 years ago for County Commissioner B against Bill Lee, he had concerns with illegal campaign contributions and when he reported it, no one did anything about it.
    1. He then proceeded to tell me that he never received the current delegate list so he has no way to contact delegates. He is also concerned that his information is not listed correctly on the County website and that people cannot find information about him.
    2. When I asked again about the current elections process he apologized for going on a tangent and then said that he thinks that mail-in votes work but he thinks the system will work better if partisan races are on one ballot and non-partisan races are on another.
    3. He thinks that an Elections Commission should be created since the current Clerk/Auditor position oversees elections and the head of that department is an elected position, it is a conflict of interest.
    4. This year he filed to run for the County Commissioner A position but after filing, he decided that he would be a better fit for the Clerk/Auditor position.

Bryan Thompson – Current County Clerk/Auditor

  1. Elections – Problems with the system are constantly reevaluated and they have identified where bottlenecks are in the current system.
    1. Check-in process – They now are doing an electronic system with the barcodes on the back of driver’s licenses.
    2. Statewide Voter Database – Data is not correct there but is constantly being updated.
      1. Weekly conference calls are occurring to update changes and improvements
    3. I asked how they are working with the office to improve service and one of Bryan’s employees stated that they have weekly meetings and are constantly evaluating processes to improve the system. Elections are not focused on just before the election, they are trying to improve the system all year long.
  2. Budget – He oversees the budget but it is up to the department heads and County Commission to approve the budget.

Full-Disclosure: I have worked the election polls for several years and the changes and improvements from even two years ago to today are wonderful! I know that there are issues but I have personally witnessed the current Auditor/Clerk Bryan Thompson, researching problems and contacting individuals to correct issues. I have seen the election worker training improve immensely and know that the training will continue to improve.

Now that I have spoken with each candidate, I will be voting for Bryan Thompson.

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