2020 Participatory Governance Committee Report 

Introduction and Summary of Major Positions

Utah needs and deserves more ethical, transparent government that better honors the role of citizen participation in governance. Where is our leadership failing Utahns? Among other things, the Legislature has been significantly modifying recent citizen initiatives legalizing medical marijuana, expanding Medicaid, and establishing a redistricting process to mitigate intentionally partisan gerrymandering. The Legislature lacks respect for the citizen initiative process and assumes it knows best, in spite of conflicts of interest and excessive financing from special interest groups. Along with the upcoming 2021 redistricting process, election processes assume more importance this year, and our report is a call both for informed citizen participation in our democracy and for governmental responsiveness. A summary of our top priorities is below. Explanations of the first four of our priorities are found on subsequent pages.

  • Honest stateswomen and statesmen must be appointed to the 2021 Independent Redistricting Commission. Regardless of political affiliation, they must place the needs of our democratic republic ahead of partisan gerrymandering and honor the need for voters to elect their representatives and not for representatives to select their voters.
  • The public must perform an important role in the redistricting process, insisting that the Commission adopt and implement the redistricting standards in the initial initiative and serving as a watchdog for the Commission’s work.
  • As a national leader in vote-by-mail, Utah should continue to share its success and help other states adopt or expand it in the future and must continue to teach every registered Utah voter how to avoid making ballot mistakes. Utah elected officials must also continue to urge Utahns to understand the extra time required to count the paper ballots used in vote-by-mail systems. They must also explain, monitor, and safeguard the anti-fraud and anti-hacking measures used in our election processes.
  • Ranked-choice voting (aka instant run-off voting) should be expanded to more Utah municipal, nonpartisan primary elections whenever more than two candidates are on the ballot, ensuring that election results reflect the wishes of a majority and not a mere plurality of voters. The Legislature should enact stronger legislation to encourage or incentivize ranked choice voting in such elections as the next step in evaluating RCV.
  • Candidate access to the ballot by signature gathering must remain. In case the issue re-emerges in 2021, we refer readers to our 2018 report for details about the continuing, but currently latent, Republican Party opposition to allowing potential candidates to gather signatures as a means to gain access to the primary ballot. Republican Party leaders have wanted the Party to control which Republican candidates can appear on the ballot, but the Party convention in recent years has been dominated by delegates who do not represent the views of a majority of Republicans across the state.

To access a pdf version of the full report click here: Participatory Governance

Article 7 (Participatory Governance) Committee Members

               Dixie Huefner

               Sheryl Allen