Sunday Edition: Utah Voting Participation

October 22, 2017 (KSL-TV) -

Dave McCann talks with Utah Foundation President Peter Reichard about Utah’s declining voter turnout, uncompetitive races and upcoming ballot initiatives meant to address the way Utahns vote.

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Uncompetitive races can cause low voter turnout

October 19, 2017 (Davis Clipper) -

It likely won’t be an issue in many Davis County communities this fall during municipal elections, but a new study reveals that uncompetitive elections with one candidate winning by margins of 30 percent or more are among the potential causes of Utah’s low voter turnout.  A new research brief from Utah Foundation released on Wednesday looks at that issue and updates previous work in light of recent efforts to reform the electoral landscape. The updated … Continued

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New Study Finds Voter Participation Still Low In Utah

October 17, 2017 (KUER) -

A new study finds that Utah’s voter turnout continues to slip, and noncompetitive races may be a significant factor. Utah’s voter participation last year ranked 39th nationally, which is, frankly, pretty dismal. But it wasn’t always like that.   “Interestingly, about 40 years ago, we were much higher than the national average, we had great participation,” says Shawn Teigen, a research director at the nonpartisan Utah Foundation, which published a new report this week on voting … Continued

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Utah Foundation releases new study on state elections

October 17, 2017 (KTVX) -

A local organization is taking a closer look at voter habits in Utah. Our state has one of the lowest voter participation rates in the entire country. This new report takes a look at why. In 2016, Utah ranked 39th in the nation for voter turnout. It marks a sharp decline for our state over the last few decades. “Forty years ago we were higher, we had better turnout than the national average. Now, we … Continued

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New study says Utah voter turnout is dismal and ‘uncompetitive’ races may be the reason why

October 17, 2017 ( -

Utah ranks 39th in the nation in voter participation, a just-released study of 2016 state office elections by the Utah Foundation shows. The voting study update, called a “research brief” by the non-profit government policy think tank, shows Utah voter turnout continues to drop generally, although depending on the election year turnout has jumped up at times. Still, Utah used to have one of the best voter participation rates in the nation.

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Report: Ballot initiatives may invigorate Utah voters

October 17, 2017 (Deseret News) -

More Utahns voted in the 2016 election than when Republican Mitt Romney ran four years earlier, but the Beehive State still has among the lowest rates of voters turning out nationwide. Many Utah residents may skip the polls on Election Day because they feel their votes don’t matter, according to the Utah Foundation, which released an analysis of Utah voter data and national nonprofit information Tuesday. In 2016, more than 2-in-3 general election races ended … Continued

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Study: Most Utah races are noncompetitive, leading to low voter turnout

October 17, 2017 (Salt Lake Tribune) -

Utah’s general election races were so lopsided and noncompetitive last year that 71 percent were decided by margins wider than 30 percent. A new study says that is one reason why Utah’s voter turnout is among the nation’s lowest. “It’s closely tied to the feeling of, ‘Why vote if my vote doesn’t make a difference — if it’s a foregone conclusion who’s going to win,’” says Shawn Teigen, research director for the Utah Foundation, which … Continued

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Wasatch Gazette: Utah Foundation’s History and Mission

October 15, 2017 (Cumulus Media stations K-Bull 93, B98.7, KBER 101, Power 94.9, ALT 101.9, 860 AM) -

Utah Foundation President Peter Reichard and Communications Director Dan Bammes sat down with Cumulus Media’s Mike Parsons for an interview on the weekly public affairs program Wasatch Gazette. Among the topics on the table: The history of Utah Foundation going back to 1945, some of the important issues it’s studied in that time and some of the work it’s doing currently to help keep voters and policymakers informed about critical issues.

Op-ed: In search of refuge from the noise of partisan conflict

October 04, 2017 (Deseret News) -

It seems as though, at least monthly, the public is served a new wedge issue over which to waste time and energy. September’s flavor of the month, for instance, had something to do with kneeling, football, the national anthem and, vaguely, police brutality. Such flavors of the month become, in effect, products meant to appeal to a dark area of our brain. It is that area of the brain that compels us to click certain … Continued

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Poll shows weakening support for proposal to raise taxes to boost school funding

October 02, 2017 ( -

Because of various tax changes over two decades, a Utah Foundation study found more than $1.2 billion a year has fallen out of school budgets. So if Utahns approve the OSN petition next November, schools would still be getting around half of what would have come if lawmakers hadn’t given tax cuts and exemptions over the last 20 years. Jones finds that it is mainly Republicans who have turned against the proposed tax hike: — … Continued

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Gehrke: Here comes an initiative to get rid of party nominating conventions and it could revolutionize Utah politics

September 15, 2017 (Salt Lake Tribune) -

Surveys by the nonpartisan Utah Foundation have demonstrated that delegates from both parties are far more strident than the average Utahn and that women, in the GOP in particular, are vastly under-represented. Under the old system, delegates were the only people who mattered, so ditching the signature path when the Legislature meets again in January would make those delegates very happy — which also benefits the lawmakers they would elect. Gov. Gary Herbert said Thursday … Continued

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Jay Evensen: A fight Utah’s Republican leaders should abandon

September 13, 2017 (Deseret News) -

Research has shown that Republican voters and Republican convention delegates don’t always see eye-to-eye. In 2012, the Utah Foundation found that 51 percent of party voters identified as conservative, compared with 61 percent of delegates. Women, in particular, tend to be underrepresented at conventions. More importantly, however, party members and leaders often differ in candidate selection.

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In our opinion: 3rd District primary retaught Utahns important lessons

August 19, 2017 (Deseret News) -

Numerous surveys through the years have shown that this split is not new. Most recently, the Utah Foundation, an independent research group, found in 2016 that Republican delegates are more politically homogeneous than registered party members statewide, and that the two groups have different priorities. For instance, Republican voters listed health care as their top priority, while delegates listed states’ rights. Representation also is skewed. Women made up 56 percent of the Republican electorate but … Continued

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Commentary: Remember Utah’s indispensable coal counties

August 09, 2017 (Salt Lake Tribune) -

This year, Utah Foundation has focused squarely on the fate of one group of Utahns who have long filled the ranks of the state’s indispensable citizens – its coal industry workers. As our Coal Counties report series demonstrates, their industry is changing quickly, along with the prospects for the counties they live in. About 1,000 people work in Utah’s coal mines. Another 1,500 people work in Utah’s five coal-fueled power plants. Beyond those numbers, trucking … Continued

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Report: Utah’s coal industry fading while more eco-friendly outdoor recreation surges

July 27, 2017 (Salt Lake Tribune) -

Compiled by alliance volunteer Doris Schmidt, the new report taps economic data from Utah and federal agencies and a recent three-part report by the nonprofit Utah Foundation. The document lists a litany of grim statistics for coal that are not new, but rather cast a new light on Utah’s official call to shrink the Staircase monument to exclude the coal-bearing Kaiparowits Plateau. Nationally, 50 coal producers have gone bankrupt since 2012, while just six of the … Continued

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Head of Utah Legislative Research and General Counsel retiring

July 25, 2017 ( -

  The longtime head of the Utah Legislature’s largest staff agency, Mike Christensen, is retiring Aug. 11 after 17 years as the director. Christensen, 70, has a long history of public service, both inside and outside of government itself. Christensen played tennis for Utah State University (believe me, you don’t want to look down the service of a 6-foot-6 college tennis player, I have), and soon after graduation went to work for the Legislative Research and General … Continued

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Op-ed: Why Utah really is the place

July 23, 2017 (Deseret News) -

To operate from a position of hope is to rebel against that message. It is rebellion to say: It is possible for us to find solutions to our common problems. By providing information to help make those solutions possible, Utah Foundation stands at the forefront of that hopeful, common-ground rebellion. And, after all, who doesn’t believe in efficient, effective government? Who doesn’t want a thriving economy, a well-prepared workforce and a high-quality of life for … Continued

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Utah Foundation wins top awards at GRA national meeting

July 20, 2017 ( -

Utah Foundation staff won the Most Distinguished Research Award for its 2016 Utah Priorities Project from the Governmental Research Association at its annual meeting in Salt Lake City. The Utah Priorities Project looked at the key concerns of candidates, party convention delegates, and voters during the 2016 election cycle. More information about the Utah Priorities project is available at Utah Foundation’s new president, Peter Reichard, was among those also recognized with the Most Distinguished … Continued

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To help vulnerable seniors during heat waves, Meals on Wheels is adding fans to the menu

July 18, 2017 (Salt Lake Tribune) -

The elderly population in Utah is growing rapidly. In 2015, people 65 and older made up a little more than 10 percent of the state’s population. In 50 years, that group is expected to grow to 20 percent, according to a projection by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah. It’s important for people to be able to age at home in order to stay healthy, according to Shawn Teigen, research … Continued

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BYU students not as conservative as some think

July 07, 2017 (Daily Universe) -

Political issues and social issues often intersect, as seen in a 2015 study by the Utah Foundation that found Utahns who identify as liberal are 21 percent more likely to support gay rights than moderates and 30 percent more likely to support gay rights than conservatives. JD Goates is the current president of Understanding Same-Gender Attraction, an unofficial BYU organization that meets at the Provo Library. The organization is politically neutral, but Goates thinks the … Continued

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State senator may get into mayor’s race, and other area political news

July 02, 2017 (New Orleans Advocate) -

The Bureau of Governmental Research has promoted longtime staff member Stephen Stuart to vice president and research director. He succeeds Peter Reichard, who is leaving for Salt Lake City, where he will be president of the Utah Foundation, a group that says it offers “thorough, well-supported research” on public policy issues and makes “practical, well-reasoned recommendations for policy change” — pretty much what BGR does. Stuart has been with BGR for 15 years, most recently … Continued

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Op-ed: Hatch and Noel are caught up in a coal pipe dream

June 11, 2017 (Salt Lake Tribune) -

Hatch and Noel blindly advocate for coal development, regardless of facts and figures showing declining coal production and consumption. As the country transitions toward natural gas and renewable resources, coal is becoming obsolete. A 2017 Utah Foundation study shows our state following the national trend, regardless of Utah’s high dependence on coal. These economic trends are further reflected in other areas where coal is king, as in Appalachia. Cheaper energy has forced the coal industry … Continued

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Sexual Harassment, School Vouchers and more

June 07, 2017 (City Weekly) -

Despite the toxic rhetoric from @realDonaldTrump and Rep. Mike Noel, there likely is a future for something other than coal. The Deseret News has been following a series from Utah Foundation on the future of coal, and despite optimism, it just isn’t good. Diversification is likely the key, and that might take some buy-in from the state government. Unemployment in coal country is 50 percent higher than the state as a whole, making the issue … Continued

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Our Schools Now wants to put tax hike for education on the ballot in 2018

June 06, 2017 (Fox 13 News) -

The process to get on the 2018 ballot is just beginning. With the paperwork filed, the Lt. Governor’s Office will review the proposed language and draft a fiscal note. Then, Our Schools Now will have to conduct seven public hearings across the state in July. After that, they have to gather 113,000 signatures in 26 of Utah’s 29 senate districts. Once those are reviewed, and if they are approved, the “Teacher & Student Success Act” … Continued

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