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The coming push to end mail-in balloting in Utah
On Tuesday, Utah Rep. Steve Christiansen was a guest on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast, where he discussed his efforts to enact election reform in Utah, including the state’s vote-by-mail program and ranked-choice voting.
Christiansen is already a leading proponent to conduct an audit of Utah’s election, but he told Bannon he plans to target the state’s permanent mail-in voting.
“Utahns believe vote-by-mail increases fraud. We’ve been doing it for over a decade, and over half of Utahns believe it increases fraud,” Christiansen claimed. It’s not clear how he came by those survey numbers, but Bannon accepted them without question.
Christiansen said he believes mail-in-ballots should only be given to people unable to vote in person. He also told Bannon he wants to ban private donations to support election-related activities.
Utah is one of 8 states with permanent vote-by-mail where all eligible voters are sent a ballot. Utah adopted vote-by-mail in 2013.
Christiansen’s quest begins later today when he will be the main speaker at a Judiciary Interim Committee hearing on “election integrity.”
Also of note, Christiansen appeared on Bannon’s podcast the same day the House Committee investigating the attempted insurrection on January 6 voted to hold Bannon in contempt for refusing to comply with their subpoena.
Here’s what you need to know for Wednesday morning
🚨 Breaking overnight: The White House unveiled plans to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, pending approval by the FDA. [CNN]
🏛 President Joe Biden made significant cuts to a spending bill to expand the social safety net, dropping the price tag from $3.5 trillion to $1.9 trillion. The reductions include tuition-free community college and some measures to fight climate change. [WSJ]
🏛 The House January 6 committee voted unanimously to hold Steve Bannon in contempt for refusing to comply with its subpoena. Rep. Liz Cheney suggested Bannon had “substantial advance knowledge” of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. [WaPo]
🚨 Former Defense Secretary Mike Esper blocked a plan by former President Donald Trump to send 250,000 troops to seal the Mexico border. Trump also wanted to launch military raids against drug cartels inside Mexico. [NYT]
🚨 The federal government says Utah failed to implement a federal standard to protect healthcare workers from COVID-19, which puts the state’s ability to enforce workplace safety without federal guidance. The move also complicates the state’s strategy for pushing back against a federal vaccine mandate. [Tribune]
💉 Intermountain Health Care CEO Marc Harrison says he has the same cancer that Colin Powell had, which highlights the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19. [Tribune]
💉 The Supreme Court refused to block a vaccine mandate for health care workers in Maine. [NYT]
🦠 COVID-19 has killed 65,000 more men than women in the U.S. [WaPo]
🦠 Researchers in the U.K. are watching a new COVID-19 variant they’re calling “Delta Plus.” [BBC]
🚧 A Salt Lake City street is falling apart, but nobody will take responsibility for fixing it. [Tribune]
🏛 Republicans in the Senate will again use the filibuster to block a bill to protect voting rights. [NYT]
➡️ U.S. authorities detained more than 1.7 million migrants along the Mexico border last year, the highest level recorded since 1986. [WaPo]
💵 Proctor and Gamble is raising prices on grooming and personal care products due to supply chain issues. [CNN]
💉 New York City will require COVID-19 vaccinations for all public employees, eliminating the option for testing. [WSJ]
⚖️ Nebraska Republican Congressman Jeff Fortenberry was indicted by a federal grand jury on three felonies from an investigation into illegal contributions made to his 2016 campaign for Congress. [WSJ]
⚖️ The ACLU is suing Oklahoma, claiming an anti-critical race theory law violates free speech rights. [NBC News]
🇬🇧 Queen Elizabeth II canceled a trip to Northern Ireland on the advice of her doctors, who said she needed to rest for a few days. [CNN]
Wednesday morning’s Utah news roundup
Salt Lake City bakery co-founder struck, killed by DUI suspect during police pursuit. [Tribune]
Nonprofits working to secure shelter for Utah’s homeless before winter. [FOX 13]
Ogden officials consider changing free parking to paid. [KUTV]
‘Too close for comfort’: Man finds hateful messages at SLC International Peace Gardens. [ABC4]
Graduate caps and mascots addressed at Utah Native American Legislative Liaison Committee. [Tribune]
Utah reports more than 1,300 new coronavirus cases, 5 deaths. [Tribune]
What Utah’s exit from student loan business could mean for college scholarships. [Deseret News]
Even early birds may go hungry as 2021 holiday shopping poised to be a challenge. [Deseret News]
Why Utah aims to be the ‘hydrogen hub for the crossroads of the West’. [KSL]
$250 million soon available to Utah daycares as they struggle to find workers. [KUTV]
Gov. Cox announces fund to support Utah’s arriving Afghan refugees. [Tribune]
One month in, Utah ‘feels like home’ for state’s first Afghan refugee. [Deseret News]
Environmentalists stage silent protest to save the Great Salt Lake. [FOX 13]
Major solar farm project underway, set to benefit Salt Lake City and more. [ABC4]
George Pyle: Democrats, give up on DINO Joe Manchin. Work on RINO Mitt Romney. [Tribune]
🎂 You say it’s your birthday?!!
Happy birthday to former U.S. Rep. Chris Cannon and David Magleby, professor emeritus of political science at Brigham Young University.
Got a birthday you’d like us to recognize in this space? Send us an email.
— The Tribune’s Connor Sanders contributed to this report.