In January of this year, a citizen’s group, SecureVoteUtah, collected nearly 30,000 petition signatures in just over 30 days. Among several provisions, their proposal called for
a) a return to in-person voting, except for those unable to come to the polls;
b) an end to machine counting of ballots, which cannot be seen by pollworkers;
c) a requirement for photo ID at every juncture in the election process;
d) an end to confusing and centralizing Ranked Choice Voting and to voting over a cell phone;
e) and for a return to a counting process that yields the totals on election night in almost every case.
From that effort came the formation of SecureFreedomUtah, dedicated to nonpartisan citizen action to protect our elections and the right to participate in public processes across-the-board.
SecureFreedomUtah is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan charity registered with the state of Utah. Our goal is to make citizens more effective in defending their rights and participating in public processes. This would include attending public meetings; requesting and researching public disclosure documents; reading and analyzing proposed legislation; monitoring legislative sessions, committee hearings, and official government communications; interacting with elected officials; evaluating candidates running for public office; canvassing neighbors; and circulating petitions.
Our project SecureVote focuses on advocacy for the election-related policy proposals stated above, as well as citizen involvement in working at the polls, poll watching, and keeping an eye on all facets of the system. We are concerned that the role of duly elected local officials in the election process is being unwisely diminished. Federal and state relationships with private contractors who seem hostile to public scrutiny and introduce technology understood only by a limited number of specialists endangers transparency and the citizens’ oversight role over our elections.