Letter: It is critical that every person’s voice is heard

The Utah House of Representatives convenes for a special session of the Legislature at the Utah State Capitol Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Utah legislators unanimously voted during a special session Thursday in favor of a plan for the November election that includes outdoor voting and additional ballot drop boxes in rural parts of the state. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

As one of the sponsors of the tax referendum, I witnessed firsthand the blossoming empowerment that took place as thousands of Utah residents signed petitions to voice their displeasure at the overreach of our elected officials. They came together to defeat the tax reform bill of 2019 that attempted to increase the food and gas taxes.

After 160,000 citizens signed the referendum, people paid attention. Courageous Utahns rose up to challenge incumbent legislators who had supported the tax reform bill. However, most of these races were squelched before they began.

Because of COVID-19, access to the ballot was interrupted this election year. Citizens lost their voices in choosing delegates or running to be one. The lists from 2018 were used so tax referendum supporters did not get to elect delegates or run as one in 2020. Candidates were not able to meet delegates, hold live town halls or debate opponents.

Droves of frustrated citizens are encouraging Jon Huntsman to run as a write-in candidate. They are aware that only one-third of Utahns chose the probable next governor, who is perceived to be part of the overreach agenda of the current governor.

Marci Green Campbell, one of the referendum leaders, has recently registered as a write-in candidate for Utah Senate District 23. On Aug. 24, a letter was delivered to the lieutenant governor’s office requesting accommodations for write-in candidates this election and asking for those names to be inserted in the mail-out ballots. Also requested are name stickers to accommodate those with disabilities, and write-in information published with voter information packets.

We need to keep an eye on the decisions being made on Capitol Hill or we will end up with the same tax increases passed in 2019.

With the vast majority of incumbents returning, why would we expect anything different from them? I think we all realize that the pandemic has isolated people more than ever and it is critical that the voice of all should be heard, instead of just the few who participated in the primary.

Judy Weeks-Rohner, West Valley City

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