Monday , January 22, 2018 - 5:00 AM5 comments
Recently, Davis County Republican precinct chair Casey Fisher posted on Facebook: “The more I study history the more I think giving voting rights to others not head of household has been a grave mistake.”
Fisher is in a position of influence and his statement is a threat to voting rights. The Davis County GOP chairwoman, Teena Horlacher, defended him, but also stated. “I certainly don’t agree with that sentiment.” While we do not condone the personal attacks that were directed at Fisher and Horlacher (remember civility, America!) this skewed view needs examination and a rebuttal. It is also clear that new leadership is needed in the Davis County GOP.
The finger of blame for electing poor leaders, the ballooning deficit, and many other ills today is often directed at people who vote, but "don't have skin in the game.” Many blame college students who don't pay income taxes, or those who don’t own property who vote for the "feel-good" initiatives — not realizing the costs associated. Understandably, Fisher and many others are frustrated; I think we all are, to some degree. However, the idea of restricting voting rights is a case of choosing the easier wrong over the harder right.
Allowing only the heads of households to vote would eliminate the votes of many college students, elderly citizens, a disproportionate amount of women, military servicemen and women, to name only a few. Remember, radical change goes both ways. If we would silence those who don’t think or vote like us, the tables can flip, and we could soon find ourselves on the receiving end. It is likely Fisher would be surprised to find how many of the very people he would disenfranchise – those who are not “heads of households” — are concerned about these problems and would like to find solutions.
Women’s suffrage in Utah has a fascinating and wonderful history. “The story of the struggle for women’s suffrage in Utah is the story of all efforts for the advancement and betterment of humanity,” said Martha Cannon, the first female state senator in the United States. She nailed it. We are not simply interested in bettering our own lives or in finding quick solutions. We are a state, even a nation, of diverse people who must work together as problems arise.
Fisher and Horlacher received scathing rebukes that were unnecessarily personal at times. This is unacceptable. We must remember that mutual respect is key to problem-solving. Nevertheless, a person who would take away voting rights is not a leader we should trust. The Republican Party dominates most elected positions in Utah, and Fisher and Horlacher should humbly realize the need to listen to all members of the community – especially those who are under-represented.
We call upon all in Davis County who believe that every individual should be granted the right to vote, regardless of race, age, economic status, or family situation, to show up at your party caucus meeting this year. The Utah GOP caucuses will be held March 20th. If you live in Fisher’s precinct and disagree with him, consider replacing him or find a neighbor you feel would better represent your values. Run as a state or county delegate in your precinct. Be that leader who understands that when we listen and encourage all that is good, we can rise together and move forward.
Calene Van Noy, Christy Jacobs and Alisa Mercer are Davis County residents and members of Mormon Women for Ethical Government.
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