Sunday, October 30, 2016

Who (and what) I am voting for and why

With election day only a few days away--and with the possibility of early voting--I thought I would try to figure out who and what I'll be voting for. Some of the choices are more difficult than others. But I feel I've done a pretty good job of getting informed and am reasonably comfortable with my choices.

(One of the best sources of information is, where you can put in your information to see what items will be on your ballot; note also, the online version of the voter information booklet. I've provided links to information about some of the candidates and issues below.)

For President of the United States:

Hillary Clinton

(My second choice would be Evan McMullin; my third, Gary Johnson--though I think his running mate, Gov. Weld, more qualified; my fourth, maybe Jill Stein?--I'd have to go through the options again to be sure. But under no circumstances would I vote for Donald Trump; in my judgment, he would be dangerous and divisive and is unqualified for the responsibilities of the presidency.)

I'll be adding more explanation about my choice of presidential candidate after I've listed all the other offices and issues I'll be voting on.

For U.S. Senate:

Mike Lee

(Though I disagree with Senator Lee on MANY issues, I admire him for his consistent opposition to Trump and believe he is clearly much more qualified than his opponent, Misty Snow. Furthermore, I want to make a statement to the Utah Democratic Party about what I consider their foolishness in selecting Snow over a much more qualified and appealing candidate, Jonathan Swinton. I was a delegate to the Utah State Democratic Convention and witnessed the flawed and unpleasant process by which an unqualified and unelectable candidate kept Swinton from avoiding a primary--and then saw Snow defeat him in a primary in which a miniscule portion of Utah's electorate voted.)

For U.S. House of Representative (3rd district):

Stephen Tryon

(A good candidate with whom I agree on most issues. [Profile:] And though there are things I admire about the current congressman, Jason Chaffetz, I was extremely disappointed by his support of Trump and even more by his return to Trump after temporarily rejecting him for his appallingly immoral and sexist language and attitude in the Access Hollywood tape.)

NOTE: If I were able to vote in the other districts, I would in each case vote for the Democratic candidate, for reasons I could detail. I would be especially enthusiastic about voting for Doug Owens. Many years ago, I campaigned for his father, Wayne Owens, who was a great and good man.

For Governor of Utah:

Mike Weinholtz

(I had originally planned to support Gary Herbert, because I've felt he's been a decent and reasonably moderate governor. But when he announced his support for Trump, I questioned his judgment and started taking a closer look at his positions. I didn't care for much of what I found. Though he has now turned against Trump, he had already lost my support. [Weinholtz's profile:])

OTHER STATEWIDE OFFICES: These are difficult because most voters (including me) know little about the candidates and their qualifications and positions. Many voters will simply go with the party they support, assuming any candidate on their party's ticket will likely be qualified. Since I lean Democrat (for reasons I have explained elsewhere at length), I'd like to vote for all the Democrats I can--if they are qualified and have views I can accept. But I'd be happy to vote for any Republicans who seem clearly superior.
     Honestly, one of my reasons for voting for Democrats (all other things being equal) is that I would like to encourage a two-party system. The extreme dominance of the Republican Party in Utah for several decades has been unhealthy for the state and for the Republican Party itself--as well as discouraging to the Democratic Party, which often presents highly qualified candidates who are rejected by voters who don't seem to have made much effort to educate themselves about the candidates or to consider voting for anyone other than a Republican. In other words, it would be great to have two viable parties in Utah.

With those caveats, here goes:

Attorney General:

Jon V. Harper

(He is highly qualified. And he makes some good arguments against the incumbent. See )

State Auditor:

Mike Mitchell

(Though I don't know enough to be enthusiastic, Mitchell seems qualified--he's a professional accountant--and makes good arguments for the independence of the state auditor. See )

State Treasurer:

David Damschen

(Though his opponent would probably be fine as well, Damschen--the incumbent--seems to be doing a good job, and I'd like to reward him for that. He also seems less partisan and ideological than some of the other incumbent candidates. See


Utah House District 61:

No one
(There's only one candidate on the ballot--Keith Grover. And though he seems a decent enough guy--and I considered voting for him--I've decided not to because (a) I really don't like having candidates run unopposed; (b) Grover's voting record is problematic, with an extremely low rating from the Sierra Club and a mediocre rating by the Utah Educational Association; (c) in particular he voted against the Antidiscrimination and Religious Liberty bill despite its being a highly regarded compromise endorsed by the LDS Church.)

County Commission C:

Jeanne Bowen

(I'm voting for her because she's a friend and former neighbor--also a former student--and because I think she would do a decent job. Also, if she wins, it would restore my faith in the two-party system. [Her profile:])

State School Board 13:

Stan Lockhart (maybe? but I could change my mind)

(There's not much of a choice here. Stan Lockhart, the incumbent, and widower of former House Speaker Becky Lockhart, whom I admired, says he doesn't want to micromanage what goes on in schools--which is probably a good thing--but he also says he opposed what he calls "President Obama's Every Student Succeeds Act." I think he's playing on President Obama's general--and I think undeserved--unpopularity in Utah. But in fact, according to Wikipedia, the Every Student Succeeds Act "replaced its unpopular predecessor, [what might be called President Bush's] No Child Left Behind Act," and "passed both chambers of Congress with strong bipartisan support." The other candidate for the school board, Scott Neilson, is a young and enthusiastic teacher in Spanish Fork--where I grew up--who opposes Common Core and the influence of the "federal bureaucracy." But at least he would bring the perspective of a classroom teacher to the position.)

Provo 7 (Provo School District school board)

Jim Pettersson

(He's running unopposed for this nonpartisan office. He's a friend and a good guy.)

State Judicial

Shall Darold J. McDade be retained in the office of Judge of the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District?
Shall F. Richards Smith III be retained in the office of Judge of the Juvenile Court of the Fourth Juvenile Court District?
Shall Suchada P. Bazzelle be retained in the office of Judge of the Juvenile Court of the Fourth Juvenile Court District?

I will definitely vote to retain Smith and Bazzelle, both of whom have strong support from both experts and survey respondents. I'm not sure about McDade, who has mixed reviews. I may leave his spot on the ballot blank.

Local Judicial

Shall Carolyn E. Howard be retained in the office of Justice Court Judge for the Saratoga Springs Court?
Shall David C. Dahlquist be retained in the office of Justice Court Judge for the Payson Court?
Shall Scott J. Cullimore be retained in the office of Justice Court Judge for the Utah County Justice Court?
Shall Sharla T. Williams be retained in the office of Justice Court Judge for the Genola Court?
Shall Sharla T. Williams be retained in the office of Justice Court Judge for the Goshen Court?
Shall Sharla T. Williams be retained in the office of Justice Court Judge for the Santaquin Court?
Shall Sherlynn W. Fenstermaker be retained in the office of Judge for the Mapleton City Municipal Justice Court?
Shall Sherlynn W. Fenstermaker be retained in the office of Judge for the Springville Municipal Justice Court?
Shall Stevan W. Ridge be retained in the office of Justice Court Judge for the Utah County Justice Court?
Shall Vernon F. Romney be retained in the office of Justice Court Judge for the Provo Court?
Shall W. Brent Bullock be retained in the office of Justice Court Judge for the Lindon Court?

Wow! I didn't realize I was surrounded by so many judges. All of those listed here were supported unanimously by the Judicial Conduct Commission. So I guess I'll vote to retain all of them.

NOTE: I wish the name of the one judge I know personally were on my ballot, since it would be a pleasure to vote for him. And I wish the one judge I know of who I believe is guilty of inappropriate behavior in the courtroom were on my ballot so I could vote against him. That's another--sad and troubling--story that you may read about sometime.

Constitutional Amendments A, B, and C (these are all proposed amendments to the Utah State Constitution)

I plan to vote for Amendment A (which is uncontroversial and simply clarifies wording)

I plan to vote for Amendment B (which makes some changes to how the school fund is managed and used to fund education). Though I don't entirely understand the changes, the arguments in favor seem reasonable, and the bill has the support of the Utah PTA, Utah Education Association, many other stakeholders in education, and the overwhelming majority of state legislators.

I'll probably vote for Amendment C (which provides for making some items leased by government entities exempt from property tax). Though I found some of the information provided confusing--especially because both proponents and opponents say the other side is factually wrong in its understanding of the amendment--the impartial analysis seems reasonably clear.

(For information on each: Amendment A / Amendment B / Amendment C )

[Post-election addendum: I haven't had a chance to check yet, but my guess is that, apart from the judges and the constitutional amendments, four of the nine people I voted for were elected. That's mainly because I voted for two Republicans and because the other two were non-partisan races. Still, that's better than I've often done in terms of voting for winning candidates.]



I stand all amazed at the work done but more by positions taken

Bruce Young said...

Wait till you see what I had to say AFTER the election: