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Building trust in the election process

Written by The Likely Voter

May 23, 2024

How are policymakers working to ensure elections remain trusted – and trustworthy – in 2024 and beyond?

Local and national experts embraced the challenge behind this question at the Election Trust Forum, held May 7 at UVU, which focused on the nuts and bolts of election policy in Utah and America.

Sutherland Institute, in partnership with Johns Hopkins University’s SNF Agora Institute and UVU’s Gary R. Herbert Institute for Public Policy, sponsored the forum. Key guests were Idaho Secretary of State Phil McGrane; Utah’s director of elections, Ryan Cowley; and policy experts from Sutherland Institute.

McGrane kicked off the first panel with calls for transparency in the election process.

“It’s gotten more and more challenging in this environment with social media, as misinformation spreads quickly,” he said. “There are more and more efforts to add transparency to the process – which is a good thing.”

Cowley echoed McGrane in his remarks but noted that many of the controversies, though evolved through social media, are not necessarily new.

“There’s a lot of different instances and races where people have questioned the outcomes,” he said.

Where Crowley acknowledges a needed improvement is in being deliberate with public transparency.

“What we’ve really worked hard for in Utah, and across the nation, is ‘don’t put up the doors on elections,’” he said. “Make these things public.”

During one of the forum’s breakout panels, Sutherland’s chief growth officer, Derek Monson, highlighted a recent Sutherland issue brief in which Utah likely voters were surveyed on their confidence in voting by mail and Utah’s election process compared with the traditional ballot booth voting.

“All age groups that really had experience with [vote by mail] liked it. They prefer this system,” Monson noted.

For a full recap of the forum, including recordings of the panels, photos from the day, and press mentions, visit Sutherland’s event page here.

To learn more about election policy in Utah and how Sutherland is advancing the topic, visit Sutherland’s Elections issue page here.

Takeaways: the most important things voters need to know. For civically engaged citizens.  

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