It is remarkable that the Utah Debate Commission schedule begins Sept. 24 and ends on Oct. 21, in consideration that ballots will be sent out beginning on Oct. 13.
Four debates occur on or after Oct. 12, which also happen to be the most competitive races in Utah. Additionally, voters are being encouraged to return their ballots early due to the changes taking place in the U.S. Post Office which could affect ballot returns. Unlike previous election cycles, there will be a diminished opportunity for engagement with voters post debate. This is unacceptable and a willful insult to the voting public. At best, this is an oversight with the scheduling committee and at worst, this is a deliberate attempt to undermine the democratic process in Utah.
It is remarkable that debates are virtually non-existent for many of the other offices, including the office of the Utah lieutenant governor. In addition, this is the first time both candidates are women. As we are busy celebrating womens' right to vote this year, this is a missed opportunity to support political women in Utah.
The public deserves an explanation and more transparency about the scheduling process going forward, especially given the monopoly the Utah Debate Commission has in planning our debates.
Zach Thomas, chair, Weber County Democrats; Gina Timmerman, outreach director, Weber County Democrats; Stroh DeCaire, chair, Davis County Democrats; Meredith Reed, chair, Summit County Democrats; Daniel Beus, chair, Cache County Democrats; and Michelle Palmer, chair, Morgan County Democrats.