• Austin Simcox

Vote for Better Government

If I had to sum up the goal of my candidacy in two words, those words would be "better government." This doesn't mean that we have a terrible government, just that it can and should be better. The reason I chose to run with the United Utah Party is because of its focus on pragmatic reforms that would make government better. Let's dig into a few reforms for which both the party and I are advocating.


Ranked Choice Voting


Ranked choice voting, also known as instant runoff voting, is simply a better way to vote. Instead of picking one candidate, voters rank the candidates on the ballot in order of preference. The first place votes are tallied and if no one wins a majority, the candidate with the lowest vote total is eliminated. The second choices of those voters are then distributed among the remaining candidates. This process continues until a candidate reaches a majority.


RCV ensures that every vote matters! In our current system, if your chosen candidate loses, then you may as well have not voted at all. Under RCV, your choices affect the outcome of the election, even if your preferred candidate loses. Imagine a system in which candidates feel no need to sling mud at other candidates because if they can't be your first choice, they'll happily campaign to be your second! Imagine a system that naturally encourages less extremism and more voter education. Imagine the two-party system have less of a stranglehold on our political landscape. That's what we can have with RCV.


Several cities in Utah like Vineyard and Payson have already used RCV to great success! What's even better is that both candidates and voters reported high satisfaction with the process. The Utah Republican Party has used RCV for years in their nominating conventions. The state of Maine used it for their 2018 elections and will be using it this year in the presidential election. Several other states are considering measures that would expand RCV. If elected, I commit to working to expand RCV statewide here in Utah.


To learn more about RCV in Utah, visit this website.



Campaign Finance Limits


Currently in Utah, there is no limit on the amount of money a person, corporation, or PAC can contribute to a candidate. None. Utah is one of only eleven states to not have a limit on campaign contributions. That needs to change.


Contribution limits decrease the influence of corporations, PACS, and wealthy donors while amplifying the voices of the people. Contribution limits encourage candidates to build a broader coalition of support among their constituents rather than spend most of their time on the phone with wealthy donors or special interests.


This is an area in which I contrast sharply with my Republican opponent. Rep. Robertson has raised several thousand dollars this election cycle, all of it from corporations and PACs. All of my contributions come from real people. The composition of a candidate's campaign contributions will affect their actions in office. It's not rocket science—if a candidate is funded entirely by corporations and PACs, those are the interests that candidate is more likely to serve.


In the Legislature, I will support any bills that would limit campaign contributions from corporations or individuals. I will also support legislation that would decrease the power of corporations and PACs while increasing the power of the people our legislators are supposed to represent.


Open Primaries


This one is quite simple. If an election is funded by taxes, it should be available to everyone. The Utah Republican Party operates closed primaries, meaning that only registered Republicans may vote in them. Yet, they use resources funded by all of us: ballot printing and distribution, polling centers, candidate information, voter registration...


Many Utahns register as Republicans simply so they can have a voice. This is not good democracy. Voters should be able to affiliate with the party of their choosing. Open primaries, in which voters may select which party's primary to cast their vote in, allow voters the ability to have nuanced political opinions rather than having to stick with a party line they disagree with simply so they can choose the least worst option.



Independent Redistricting


In 2018, Utah voters approved an independent redistricting commission to redraw the political district boundaries after the 2020 Census. The Legislature dragged its feet and eventually established a commission, but gutted the original intent of the initiative. Under the new system, the commission can propose a new map, but the Legislature is free to ignore that map and draw their own, leading right back to the original problem. Voters approved an initiative and the Legislature has a duty to respect that.


In the Legislature, I commit to restoring the 2018 ballot initiatives and listening to the voice of the people.


Conclusion


It's time for better government. With important reforms like these, we can level the playing field and create a more positive, constructive political landscape. Every voice should matter. Once we have reformed the system, we can have better dialogues and address the problems that Utahns face, instead of tip-toeing around the issues or implementing only superficial changes. Vote for candidates who support better government.


To learn more about the United Utah Party's proposed reforms, click here.

To learn more about my campaign, contact me, or make a donation, click here.

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