For many Utahns, it wasn’t about a specific candidate or even the national climate — they decided to come out to vote or return their ballots on Tuesday because they wanted to weigh in on Proposition 2, a ballot initiative that would establish a medical cannabis program in Utah. For others, it was Proposition 4 that would create an independent redistricting commission.
The Salt Lake Tribune spoke with voters at West Jordan’s Viridian Library and Salt Lake City’s Trolley Square. Here’s what they had to say:
Tom Beckett, 63 of Salt Lake City, voted by mail a few weeks ago but camped out in West Jordan to see how the results came in. Beckett, who said he was a lifelong Republican before the past few years, has volunteered this election cycle for Congressional District 4 candidate Ben McAdams’ campaign. He voted for McAdams, Senate candidate Jenny Wilson, and Proposition 4, the ballot initiative that would create an independent commission to redraw the state’s political boundaries.
“I grew up Republican and learned I had disagreements with the Republican platform over time,” he said. "And then more recently, it’s been much more acute than that where I find I’m very disturbed by today’s Republican Party.”
Daisy Alcantar, 18 of West Jordan, is a first time voter who said she’s been excited to cast her ballot since her birthday. She said “everyone’s voice should be heard” and that she would be voting mostly for Democratic candidates, who she said generally better represent her values, as well as for Proposition 2.
“I feel like medical marijuana helps a lot of people, obviously, and they need it," she said. “And it’s just easier for them if it’s legal.”
Briann Granderson, 22 of West Jordan, brought a “cheat sheet” for what she planned to vote for on Tuesday. On her list: Sheriff Rosie Rivera and propositions 2 and 4. She also said it’s important to “vote for the future” for children, noting that she’s voting for the non-binding ballot question 1, asking voters whether the state’s gas tax should be increased by 10 cents per gallon to free up funds for education, helped bring her out.
Sandi Luckie, 50, said the choice of who to vote for in Congressional District 4 was “a tough one for me.” But she ultimately decided to go with incumbent Republican Rep. Mia Love based on her track record and for helping return a Utah man home earlier this year after Venezuelan police handcuffed and jailed him in 2016 on suspicion of weapons charges.
“I like both of them but I am going with Mia Love," she said. "It just tugs at my heart that she brought home the guy that was captured. She never gave up on him, you know what I’m saying? So she’s got my vote because of that. That was my deciding factor.”
Luckie also said she’s voting for Prop 2 because she thinks medical marijuana can help people who are suffering, “as long as it’s monitored.”
Patrick Hawkins, 18 of West Jordan, was another first-time voter. He said he tends to be more conservative and planned to vote for Love and Prop 2. “I’m excited to get the government back a bit on that one,” he said, noting that he thinks the government spends too much time on enforcement.
Fabian Garcia, 27, voted for the first time on Tuesday and said Proposition 2 was the main reason.
“I’ve lost a lot of friends to opioid addiction, and I’ve struggled with it myself,” he said, and hopes passage of medical marijuana would help.
Becca Blackham, 27 of Salt Lake City, said the national political landscape and particularly the importance of Utah’s representation in Congress brought her out to vote. She said she cast her ballot for Democratic Senate candidate Jenny Wilson and for Proposition 3, a campaign to expand Medicaid.
“I found that one very compelling because I think it’s important that everyone has access to health care and Medicaid," she said. "That’s a good way to go in Utah.”
Levi Robinson, 23 of Bountiful, has voted in every election since he turned 18 and said he came out to vote for Wilson for the Senate and Ghorbani for the House. But the major draw for him was to cast a yes vote on Props 2, and 3 and with Prop 4 — the initiative to end gerrymandering — the most important to him personally.
“I think it’s ridiculous our representatives draw their own districts,” he said.
Rick Gregory, 69 of Salt Lake City, voted for Wilson for Senate and called Republican candidate Mitt Romney “a carpetbagger.” He also voted for Shireen Ghorbani because he said it’s important for Democrats to take back the House.
Tyler Brothers, 24 of Salt Lake City, says he ended up voting mostly for Democrats and for all the Propositions. He said he didn’t really understand the proposed amendments to the Utah Constitution. But he voted yes for A, which deals with an adjustment to a property tax exemption for active-duty members of the military and no and B, which would create a new property tax exemption for property leased by a government entity.
Elodie Gourgeon, 24 of Salt Lake City, said she votes in every race but was primarily interested in Prop. 2. She said she didn’t feel her vote mattered as much for individual candidates, because she expected the incumbents would likely hold their seats.
Emily Williams, 26 of Holladay, said Proposition 2 “is a big deal to me” because she has family members who would benefit from the legalization of medical marijuana. She said she voted straight Democrat even though she doesn’t necessarily identify with the party because she “wants to see change.”
Caitie Almond, 29 of Salt Lake City, says that “after being disappointed in the 2016 election, I felt like it was my duty to come out." The question on the gas tax for education was especially important to her, she said, because she works as a teacher.
Mikhail Schork, 37, voted for Romney for Senate because “I know him.” For the rest of the ballot, he voted Democrat because that’s his usual party. He also voted for Proposition 2.