Tuesday, October 30, 2018


Has it been a thousand years since Donald Trump became President? Sure feels like it has. So much has happened (and continues to happen at a fairly rapid pace—especially over the past two weeks) since November of 2016 that it's hard to keep up with everything, but I've still been trying. I'm sure (some of, if not most of) you have, too.

And guess what? It's time to do it all over again!

But first, listen up. If you're already in the bag for Trump and/or fully support what the GOP is doing, just leave now. We already strongly disagree, and there's no point in you reading any further. Head back to your safe space in the Fox News comment section, and we'll all be happier.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's move on. I know you're tired of hearing about politics, but this shit is real. There is so much at stake these days that it's really important to vote—especially in your local elections. These mid-terms have enormous consequences for literally everyone.

I understand why you think voting in a presidential election in Utah is a waste of time. I don't disagree with you, given the make-up of Utah's population, but I would still never miss a chance to vote for someone or something that inspires me (or against someone that I find truly reprehensible). I would encourage you approach it the same way, even if the outcome seems like a foregone conclusion.

The mid-terms are different though. They're largely about what happens in your neighborhood, in your life, and specifically how things will go in Utah over the next few years. That's why this is almost more important on a slightly smaller scale.

On a larger scale, sure if Republicans lose control of either (or both!) the House or the Senate, DJT might actually be held accountable for some of his garbage decisions, and someone will be able to take power away from genuinely terrible people like Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan (who's retiring, but will just be replaced in the House by a different cowardly—and possibly worse—white guy who only cares about cutting taxes for the rich—which doesn't help me—and taking away healthcare for millions of people—which does affect me).

So let's get to it!

Last time, I went through all the local elections and did my best to present each candidate without bias. It did not work. I will always lean—scratch that, I will always stand firmly on the Democratic side of the bill. After the last two years of watching every elected Republican official just shrug and go along with, or firmly embrace groups like the Proud Boys, or treat women and minorities like second-class citizens, I will never be able to support any of them in good conscience.

So rather than try to pretend that I have an impartial opinion on some of these candidates, I'll just tell you what I think quickly, then we'll move on to the Judges and Ballot Measures.

First of all, check Vote.org to make sure that you're registered and find your polling place if you don't have time for a mail-in ballot.  Second of all, make a plan. Polling locations in Utah are open from 7am to 8pm on November 6. As long as you are in line by 8pm you can vote.

October 30 is the last day to register online, but you CAN register to vote at the polls on election day. All you have to bring is a valid ID and proof of residence (i.e. a utility bill), and you'll be able to register and then vote. It will take a little time to do, so be patient, but if you missed your chance to register online, this is the way to go.

There are a couple of great resources out there for you to look through and make decisions, and they're the ones I've used a lot over the past few weeks.

Also, in Utah you're totally allowed to take selfies with your ballot, which means you're able to use your phone the whole time you're voting. If you don't have a mail-in ballot (which needs to be postmarked by November 5! As an added bonus, you don't even need a stamp! If you miss that, you can drop it off at the County Clerk's Office), a polling location, or a ballot drop box) and end up at a polling location, you can check all of these things while you're there. Take your time and do it right.

Utah Voter Information - This is put together by the state of Utah, and the Lieutenant Governor's office.

Vote Save America - Created by the Crooked Media team (Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Tommy Vietor, Dan Pfeiffer, and a few others), it's a step-by-step guide for what's going on in your local election. It's a great resource, though I'm sure a lot of people dismiss it outright because it was created by a bunch of former Obama staffers. Look past that, because it's really well done.

Ballotpedia - A digital encyclopedia committed to neutrality. I got a lot of information about the ballot initiatives from this site.

Here we go...

U.S. Senate
I'm voting for Jenny Wilson because Mitt Romney has become a walking punchline who will be no different than Orrin Hatch. He stood in front of television cameras and called Trump a con man and a fake, then tried to get a job in his administration. That meeting resulted in this picture. The only way I can describe that photo is like in GAME OF THRONES when Theon Greyjoy finally succumbs, and starts calling himself "Reek" much to the delight of Ramsay Bolton. Romney says he'll stand up to Trump, but until that actually happens (spoiler: it won't), I have no faith in this guy whatsoever. Also, I would vote for an inanimate carbon rod before Romney. His spinelessness and "47 percent" comments alone cemented my opinion of him long ago.

U.S. House of Representatives
I'm with Shireen Ghorbani all the way because I like what she's about, what she stands for, and because Chris Stewart is her opponent. Chris Stewart is awful, and used to sneak under the radar because he was outshined by much bigger local idiots like Jason Chaffetz. Now that Chaffetz is safely in his Fox News bubble and out of local politics (for a minute, anyway. He's probably running for Governor in 2020, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it), Stewart is getting a bit more attention. The site Politics that Work summarizes Stewart's voting record this way: Representative Stewart opposes taxing businesses, consumer protection, funding education, environmental protection, financial sector regulation, gun control, public health, humane immigration policy, labor rights and wages, lgbt rights, avoiding default, poverty amelioration, racial equality, increasing revenues, taxing the wealthy, countering Russian interference, a robust safety net, women's rights. He supports big business, hawkish foreign policy, taxing the middle class, military spending, domestic surveillance.
The italics are my own emphasis, by the way. If you need more persuasion, here's the Salt Lake Tribune listing more of Stewart's political history. Again, he's just awful.

District Attorney
I don't have a great case for or against either Sim Gill (D), who is seeking a third term, or Nathan Evershed (R). This is one where you're going to have to do a little research and come to your own conclusions (which you should be doing anyway, I'm just here to nudge you towards that).

There are other localized races, but I'm not really going to go through all of them because depending on what part of SLC you live in, they'll all be different. Do your research and, go from there.

You're kind of on your own here. There are a lot of judges and a lot of research to do. I have a friend who votes against every judge all the time because he feels like they get too comfortable and need to be changed as often as possible. I don't subscribe to that completely, but I can't say I disagree with it outright. Luckily, there is a resource for you to use. Again, it's totally okay to check these judges from the voting booth if you can't remember all of it.


Constandino Himonas
Mark Kate A. Toomey
Heather Brereton
Laura S. Scott
Richard D. McKelvie
L. Douglas Hogan
Royal I. Hanson
James D. Gardner
William K. Kendall
Kara L. Pettit
Elizabeth A. Lindsley
Tupakk AG Renteria
Elizabeth M. Knight

Now the big ones—ballot measures.

You can find good info on all of them at Ballotpedia. Read through them and make sure you understand what you're voting for or against.

Nonbinding Opinion Question #1 - I'm for it. Ten cents is annoying, but whatever.

Constitutional Amendment A - Yes - If someone is going to volunteer to join the military and be away from their family for 200 days a year, give them a break. It's fine.

Constitutional Amendment B - Nah - The theory here is that landlords will give other people a break if they get one. If you believe that's true, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I'd like to sell you.

Constitutional Amendment C - NOPE! - Right now, the Governor is only one who can call a special session and determine what's on the docket. This amendment would give a bunch of politicians that power, which they could use to pass laws before anyone actually finds out what they're doing or what any of it means. No thank you.

Proposition 2 - YES! - Marijuana is fine. It's not a gateway drug, and it helps a lot of people. Don't let idiots like these, who have no comprehension beyond "ALL DRUGS ARE EVIL" sway you. Medical marijuana will be fine. You'll be fine.

Proposition 3 - YES! - A 0.15 percent sales tax increase to help more people with expenses and spare everyone from feeling bad about scrolling past all those GoFundMe links for medical bills? Let's do it.

Proposition 4 - YES! - Utah's electoral is gerrymandering at its worst. Literally anything that can be done to change that is a good thing. This is a good thing.

There you go! I hope you had fun, and we'll do this again in 2020. Probably.

Go vote. Please.