Richard Davis: Utah needs an independent election commission

One of the most fundamental traits of a representative democracy is a process of free and fair elections that offers a level playing field for all candidates and parties. Americans continually see examples in other nations of rigged elections, manipulation of election data or the imposition of high barriers for opposition parties and candidates. In the United States, our political philosophy of fairness rejects tactics. But we need to do more to maintain a free and fair electoral process, particularly in Utah.
A case in point is the experience of the United Utah Party in attempting to certify as a party and field a candidate for the 3rd Congressional District election. The governor and lieutenant governor, through the state elections office, tried their best to keep the United Utah Party and its candidate off the ballot. They created a process that cut out new parties. When a new party formed anyway, they delayed our certification and used taxpayer money to block competition from our party.

In ruling that the state elections office was wrong in denying our candidate, Jim Bennett, a place on the ballot, judge David Nuffer pointed out the steps that office had taken to stifle competition. That’ …

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