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Goud Maragani: Unlike some politicians, I do not ‘tweet and delete’

Dear Salt Lake County voter,

First, I want to say thank you. Thank you for the warm reception and the many constructive conversations and ideas we have shared. So many of you have been kind, engaging, and thoughtful.

Second, a few of you have asked how I, as a person of color, the son of immigrants, and a member of the LGBT+ community, can align myself with the Republican Party. I was raised as a Democrat. About 12 years ago, as many elite Democrats ran further and further to the left, I felt they no longer represented what I look for in the future of America. That’s when I decided to become a Republican.

As a compliance attorney, my campaign to become Salt Lake County Clerk has been about fairness, transparency and improving the accuracy of our election system. A stark difference between my opponent and I is about how to treat questions from voters.

According to my opponent, “The fact that he’s questioning undermines the system.” I welcome questions. As a compliance attorney, I have found that the best systems are run by those who ask and encourage others to ask questions. You can read my detailed proposals at goud4clerk.com.

Unlike career politicians who desperately scrub and hide unpopular past comments and opinions, I made the conscious decision to leave past posts intact. I refuse to “tweet and delete.” I own my past opinions in the context I made them, but they are just that, “in the past.” As we learn additional information, I and others change our opinions over time. I changed my mind based on the evidence.

It’s not surprising that the media are using these prior posts against me. Until now, I have not had the opportunity to set the record straight. Here are a few of my comments and brief explanations:

• 2020 Election:

At one time, I thought the 2020 election was stolen. After much review and the failure of Donald Trump and his allies to produce concrete evidence of a stolen election, I concluded that the election was not stolen. Trump lost and Joe Biden won.

• COVID restrictions:

Our government shouldn’t regulate who you can have in your home, nor shut down small businesses while allowing large businesses to stay open, etc. These draconian practices are used in communist countries. But the reality of COVID changed how we vote. Now that 95% vote remotely, we need to adapt and make sure that every vote is counted correctly and increase the security of drop boxes, mail-in ballots and the entire process.

• Democrats as communists:

Most of my friends are Democrats and I do not believe they are communists. My previous comments were in reaction to draconian COVID policies, which I felt were too expansive at that time and promoted primarily by certain elite Democrats at the expense of normal people. These types of policies occur in communist countries. My comments were not aimed at everyday citizens of Utah and I should have made that clear at the time of my posts.

• Open Borders:

Under the Biden administration, our southern border is much more open than in the past. As a veteran, I have to ask why we don’t do more to protect our own citizens and protect our legal immigrants. This lack of regulation not only allows the tragic lawlessness of human, child, sex and drug trafficking, but it robs immigrants of the proper process to confirm legitimate status on the legal path to becoming citizens and voting. As the son of immigrants, I feel the right to vote and participate in our democratic process is absolutely crucial.

• Vote-by-mail:

I support vote-by-mail. County clerks do not determine the methods of voting, including vote-by-mail. Our state Legislature decides that. With 95% of voters using mail-in ballots, my job as county clerk will be not only to run elections according to the law but also to address the many security challenges so that every vote counts.

We have an opportunity, after 32 years of the same county clerk, to bring fresh eyes and a new compliance attorney perspective to our clerk’s office. We can take the Salt Lake County Clerk’s office to the highest levels of transparency and accuracy while engaging more voters in the election process.

I ask for your vote for Salt Lake County Clerk.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Republican candidate for Salt Lake County clerk Goud Maragani is interviewed in Salt Lake City Monday, Sept. 12, 2022.

Goud Maragani is the Republican candidate for Salt Lake County Clerk.