Section Four: Reforms to Enhance Utah’s Democracy
1. Establish an independent redistricting commission for the purpose of recommending district boundaries. One-party government is antithetical to democracy, and the public interest is generally better-served where there is genuine competition between the parties for election success. The historic practice of drawing districts to protect incumbents or partisan advantage by moving pockets of Republican or Democratic voters across county lines, or across city lines for the purpose of concentrating or diluting voting patterns (except as required to ensure one-person-one-vote) may serve parties and candidates, but at the expense of the voters.
2. Establish a direct primary nominating process and eliminate the convention system which is dominated by the most radical 1% of the population. Where candidates have to appeal to the tempered opinions and desires of the population at large, the true will of the majority is more likely to be translated into public policy. If voters perceive that their vote can really make a difference, both in the selection and election of candidates, they will respond and show up. Nothing would revitalize democracy and genuinely responsive government more in Utah than putting the voters at large back in charge of nominating candidates for office.
3. Distribute presidential electoral votes proportionally to the total vote cast for each candidate. Utah=s reputation as the reddest of the red states is a disadvantage in presidential politics. Republican candidates figure the state will vote Republican, no matter what; Democrats figure it=s a waste of time to court votes here. Utah and Nevada have the same number of electoral votes, but Nevada is a battleground state, and consequently gets enormous federal attention. Parenthetically, this lack of attention may be why Utah is more likely than Nevada to be the nation=s nuclear waste dump. The winner-take-all allocation of electoral votes is a disservice to the state, because it maintains Utah as a non-competitive election state. It marginalizes election participation because Republicans and Democrats understand that all of Utah=s electoral votes will go to the Republican presidential candidate whether they vote or not. That disinclination to vote then affects every other race on the ballot.