Tag Archives: primary election

Provo Municipal Elections and Voting System Reform

American elections, since their inception, have used plurality (or “first-past-the-post”) voting as their standard, but we should reconsider this default.

Plurality voting naturally encourages all political parties to consolidate into two major ones of roughly equal strength, which means that it renders a bipartisan duopoly nearly inevitable. America’s founders rightly worried about the rise of two major political parties that would alternately dominate our political system, and they warned us about this eventuality, although they apparently didn’t realize then that plurality voting would render this development almost inevitable.

Plurality voting also facilitates an array of other election problems like strategic voting (including voting against unworthy candidates rather than for worthy candidates), along with the “spoiler effect,” the possibility of minority rule, and increased susceptibility to gerrymandering. The “spoiler effect” is especially egregious, as it can incentivize citizens to vote against their true preferences, while punishing conscientious voters who ignore such pressure with worse results. This should ideally never happen.

The only way to alleviate these many problems is through reforming elections to use better voting methods.

Ranked-choice voting (which is also called instant-runoff voting) is a popular alternative to plurality voting in which voters rank their respective choices from first to last, after which the least-favored candidates are eliminated through multiple rounds of vote-tallying until one candidate prevails with majority support. This voting system is already a longstanding standard in political conventions. Ranked-choice voting replaces the “spoiler effect” with a milder “center-squeeze effect” that hurts centrist candidates, but it still promotes a bipartisan duopoly and it still allows gerrymandering.

Score voting alleviates these electoral problems even better (except for a negligible “chicken dilemma”) than ranked-choice voting. Score voting involves voters ranking each candidate on a scale (like 0-9 or 1-100), rather like schools grade students, such that the candidate who earns the highest average score wins. Score voting allows third parties (like the Libertarian Party, the Constitution Party, and the Independent American Party) to thrive, which is perhaps its greatest benefit. One study indicates that score voting minimizes Bayesian regret, meaning that its results are (statistically) more satisfying than either plurality voting or ranked-choice voting.

Approval voting is the simplest form of score voting, as voter rank each candidate as either acceptable or not, such that the most-widely-accepted candidate wins. Approval voting can use existing plurality ballots, which is an advantage. Approval voting may also operate in tandem with proportional representation, which allows multiple winners in proportion to their degree of approval, which divides political power among a greater diversity of factions. And mitigating the effects of factions is a worthy goal, as America’s founders noted.

Provo’s city council is considering transitioning its municipal elections from plurality voting to ranked-choice voting. Provo’s Open City Hall is currently surveying Provoans about this matter, and Provo’s city council will vote on it in May. I’m surprised that this proposed reform is enjoying support from some corrupt Establishment politicians, so I’m feeling a bit suspicious about it—so, if you have any theories about why they may favor it, then please share them. In the absence of clear reasons otherwise, though, please consider supporting such election reform, perhaps as an initial step toward something even better like score voting.

Even more importantly than improving voting systems, though, is ensuring that our elections remain both honest and accurate. Please consider lobbying your state and federal legislators regularly for election reforms (like these) that will restore election integrity—and please do so until they finally relent!

UPDATE 07/28: This election reform is enjoying great support from corrupt Establishment politicians because, as Defending Utah has revealed, it is part of an ongoing effort to replace Utah’s longstanding caucus-convention-primary system with ranked-choice “jungle” primary elections, which have already proven very effective in California at facilitating victory for corrupt Establishment politicians. Please watch the Defending Utah video before for details, and please support reinstatement of Utah’s caucus-convention-primary system.



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Provo Primary Election 2019

Provo, like other Utahn cities, is hosting its biennial primary elections this August 13th (Tuesday).

Most of us arguably don’t pay enough attention to these local elections—but, if political power were as maximally decentralized as it should be (with most of it remaining in individual households), then our local elections would become more important than our national elections.  Even despite our political system’s massive centralization since 1789, our local elections still play an important role in giving various candidates experience that they may use to campaign for other offices—for example, John Curtis leveraged his experience as Provo mayor to campaign for U. S. Congress.  Sadly, few Utahn voters seemed to pay much attention to Curtis’ “liberal” mayoral record of attempted tax hikes and grandiose central planning, as this former Democrat seemingly changed political parties without changing principles.

Tragically, John Curtis principles have not been the exception in Provos government, but the rule for many years.  Why would conservative Provoans consistently elect such liberal politicians?  Presumably because most Provoans dont bother to participate in municipal elections, and the small fraction of Provoans who bother to participate are more-than-half statists who elect fellow statists.  Thankfully, it doesnt need to be this wayProvoans who value their rightful liberty can help both educate and inform their neighbors to embrace better principles, and can organize like-minded ones for political victory.  Sometimes, free-marketeer candidates have lost city races by narrow margins, in which cases even a dozen votes could have made a big difference.

So, how can we make a difference this year?  Ideally, by finding worthy candidates early and then rallying around thembut, since its a bit too late for this now, well instead need to examine our existing options, eliminate unworthy choices, and select the best candidates among any that remain.  This year, Provoans will elect three new city councilors (one city-wide and two from city districts), but were having some trouble finding any clearly-worthy options among them.

  • For this years city-wide seat, both David Shipley and Janae Moss seem to favor central planning.
  • In district 3, Shannon Ellsworth appears to be a skilled central planner who wants Smart Growth, Robin Roberts aspires to centrally-plan away poverty from our midst, and Jeff Handy seems a bit enigmatic.
  • In district 4, it appears that all four candidates (namely: Beth Alligood, Eric Ludwig, Travis Hoban, and Valerie Paxman) favor some degree of city control of our municipal economy in various ways, which may include public transportation or regulated construction or public energy.

So, this is why we wholeheartedly endorse no candidates this year.  If you believe that we should reconsider this conclusion, then please tell us why.

If you dont want to see the same scarcity of worthy candidates in 2021 when Provoans will elect four more city councilors, plus another mayor, then please involve yourself over these next two years to slowly-but-steadily build support for better candidates among your neighbors.  If you find our website helpful for this purpose, then please feel free to use it.  Thanks!


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Provo Mayor 2017: Miscounts and Write-Ins

For those who haven’t already learned about it, Utah County’s clerk has discovered that at least 150 Provoan’s votes for mayor this year were never counted; also, Odell Miner (who placed third in this year’s primary election for Provo mayor) has now officially filed as a write-in candidate in this year’s general election to provide an alternative to statists Kaufusi and Everett.  We still favor Miner best of these three, but not enough to endorse him at present.


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Provo Mayor 2017: Kaufusi versus Everett

Provo’s primary election (whose results were mostly certified this week) has determined that Provo voters will choose between Michelle Kaufusi and Sherrie Hall Everett for their next mayor in this year’s general election on November 7th.

Michelle Kaufusi was asked by Provo’s political/economic elites to run for office, and advocates a “strong” Provo—so strong, some might say, that it can wrangle our municipal economy into submission such that, when she says “dance,” it will dance, when she says “jump,” it will ask how high, and when she says “let there be a grocery store in west Provo,” it will produce a grocery store according to her will.

Sherrie Hall Everett wants to keep Provo “moving forward,” which presumably means moving in the statist direction that she helped to expound in Vision 2030—a vision that includes “sustainable development,” “Smart Growth,” homeowner subsidies, restrictions on rental housing, mandatory neighborhood diversity, city-run business monopolies, business subsidies, Internet censorship, socialized medicine, health regulation, and an expanding array of city-run recreation facilities.

Between empowering the state and subjugating the economy, there aren’t any good mayoral options this year for Provoans who cherish America’s wonderful political heritage of rightful liberty under Constitutional law.  Which means that we’ll need to work hard over these next four years to produce such options in 2021.  If you’re both willing and able to help with this task, then please visit our website for a proposed gameplan of what to do between now and then.

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Provo’s Primary Election Results for 2017 Addendum

One week after this year’s primary election in Provo, with additional ballots tallied, reported votes for Sherrie Hall Everett (2,443) have now surpassed reported votes for Odell Miner (2,425).  If this lead persists as all remaining ballots are tallied, then Everett not Miner will face Michelle Kaufusi (who is still leading with 3,602 votes) in this year’s general election on November 7th.

This would mark a great victory for our increasingly-statist status quo here in Provo.  While Miner’s views seem more moderate, both Everett and Kaufusi appear to favor Provo’s presently-prevailing trends of higher taxes, deeper debts, increased spending, multiplied ordinances, violated rights, et cetera.  Kaufusi seems to want a “strong” city government that will vigorously manipulate the marketplace to create a grocery store in west Provo (among other statist feats), while Everett was very involved in Vision 2030 central planning and seems to want to keep Provo “moving forward” according to that statist plan.

These electoral results seem terribly ironic considering that Provo is ranked among America’s most “conservative” cities.  Hopefully, with our help, more Provoans will awaken before such statist trends devastate Provo as they devastated Detroit—but, so far, it seems that most of our neighbors are sleeping so soundly that it might require extreme effort to awaken them.


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