A Guide to Voting: Resources and Rants

A Guide to Voting: Resources and RantsEvery year about this time, my phone starts ringing.  Neighbors, friends, family members, all calling to ask how I voted.  This year, I thought, to save you all the call, I’ll walk you through my thought process as I fill out my ballot and give you the resources you need to make your own informed decision.

Since I live in Davis County, I received my ballot in the mail.  If you do not have your ballot in hand, and would like to follow along visit: here

I both love and hate mail-in ballots.  I love that I get to sit next to my husband while he fills it out, ensuring he does it right.  But I hate that I will spend all day on November 4th sulking that I didn’t get a sticker.  Truth.

Okay, back to the ballot.

First question:

straight partyThis bugs me on multiple levels.

First, just like every other office on the ballot, it says “Vote for One”.  It appears that you need to pick your party.  Hint: you don’t.

Second, if you pick a party, then vote for a candidate from a different party it still counts.

Which begs the question: WHAT IS THE POINT?!?!

Tantrum over.

If you didn’t guess, I skipped this one.

U.S. House of Representatives. 

Pick whoever you want because the reality is: All incumbents are winning.  As evidence of this, read this HubCap Spin where two Democrats predict Republican victory.  Mia has this thing in the bag, too.  Doug Owens may be a sixth generation Utahn who can make a pie, but Mia can out stump.  Sorry Doug.

Attorney General

In my neighborhood there are more Andrew McCullough signs than for any other race.  I am starting to wonder if his mother lives near me.  Despite the signage, he’s not winning.  The question is then: Charles Stormont or Sean Reyes?  Stormont has had great social media presence (okay, I wrote that because Shon is my friend and he’s awesome).  Sean Reyes, meanwhile, is a Republican rockstar.  The good news is neither of them is Mark Shurtleff or John Swallow, so Utah wins!

Utah State Board of Education

The show must go on!  Despite a judge ruling the process of candidate selection for Utah State School Board elections is illegal, the election is moving forward.  While I have strong opinions about many of the candidates running (voteHansenGroomWarnerBouchardorBelnapGriffiths), I’ll let you decide who you think is best.  Two weird realities: the whole election may be invalidated because of the lawsuits, and a year from now the State Board of Education may not even exist.

Utahns for Public Schools did do a candidate questionnaire for State School Board candidates which can be found here.

State Legislative Races

Fourteen state senate seats are up this cycle.  In most of these, while your vote will technically count, it will probably not be the deciding factor.  The state senate races worth watching are: the Howard Stephenson v Michelle Weeks race in Draper (a longtime Republican senator recently said to me that he thinks Stephenson may be in trouble), the Sabrina Peterson v Jani Iwamoto race to fill retiring Pat Jones’ seat, and the Daniel Thatcher v Clare Collard race (Thatcher beat out a Democrat four years ago to gain the seat and Collard is working the district hard to garner support).

Of the 75 Utah House races, about three of them are interesting.  I do not live in one of the interesting ones.

Another resource available to learn more about the candidates in your area is the Utah League of Women Voter’s Guide found online here.

County Races

Unless you live in Utah County, the Commissioner races are been pretty low key.  Information about county races are found on the respective county pages.  There are a couple of write-in candidates around the state running, but here in good old Davis we run our Republicans uncontested.

On the website: vote.utah.gov candidates had the opportunity to submit candidate profiles, click on the individual candidates’ names to read them.

Local School Board Races

I firmly believe these are some of the most important but most neglected races on the ballot.  These are the races where your vote counts!  If you do not know the people running for your local school boards, call those that will: teachers, parents, and district administrators.  Learn about these candidates and their thoughts about our schools.  I beg of you, please pay attention to these races!  [Stepping back down from soapbox]

Deep breath.  Moving on.

The League of Women Voter’s Guide  includes information about local school board candidates in: Canyons, Granite, Jordan, Murray, SLC, and Park City School Districts, as well.

ZAP/RAP/RAMP Taxes

These taxes go to support recreation, arts, the zoo, museums, and parks in local communities.  The Utah Taxpayer’s Association hates these taxes, but in general the public does not.  Frankly, people demand these types of services from government and these taxes are a way to fund them. In general these taxes are a raise in local sales tax of $.01/$10 spent, and must be renewed by the voters every ten years.

Shon Harris gives a rundown of Salt Lake County’s ZAP tax here.

Judicial Retention Elections

Just when you are starting to experience voter fatigue, here come the long list of judges.  Resist the temptation to vote NO on the whole lot of them (Curt Bentley explains why here).  To learn more about voting for judges, see this post on Judging the Judges.

The Home Stretch: Constitutional Amendments

In short, Amendment A asks if there are not enough qualified Democrats to serve on the State Tax Commission.  Amendment B asks if a whole new election should be held if the Lt. Governor changes midterm.  Amendment C asks if other constitutional officers than the Governor should have the chance to hire legal counsel when the Attorney General’s Office is a mess.  Ok, that was really short, and not exactly what the amendments say, just their gist and their back story.  To read a more thorough outline of the Amendments, see Jesse Harris’ post here.

Well, there you have it – how I voted.  Now please go do the same!


Editor’s add: if you’re also looking for rehab resources, one dedicated organization that works to better the community through volunteering and health awareness is Addiction Resource, which raises awareness of the dangers of addiction and helps local communities stay drug-free (https://addictionresource. com/). It also has a great summary of the best rehabs in Utah (https://addictionresource. com/drug-rehab/utah/).

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