Voting From Home – How Utah Became a Leader in Mailing it in With Dr. Damon Cann
“The structure of our election system influences our voting outcomes”. In this episode Damon Cann, a professor of political science at Utah State University and Mayor of North Logan City, helps us weigh in the pros and cons with the various voting platforms; mail-in voting, electronic voting machines, local ballots.
Cann shares an example of Thomas Wright’s strategy for improving election outcomes for republicans in SLC. The governor and chair of the SLC Republican Party worked to get more republicans in SLC to sign up for no-excuse absentee voting so a ballot would show up at home and remind them that an election was going on. The outcome was more republicans participating in the voting cycle.
We can trace the roots of Utah going from absentee voting by mail to full-blown election conducted via mail across the state back to the 2000 election of George W. Bush and Al Gore. Coming out of that election we saw that there needs to be better and more reliable ways to implement our voting systems. And the outcome brought on HAVA, Help Americans Vote Act which brought out the age of electronic voting machines. These DRE machines brought on its own set of advantages and disadvantages. One of the main ones brought on to the states were funding for the replacement of these expensive machines. As a result, this led to looking at solutions for saving money which, bringing us full circle back to what Utah does today, vote-by-mail.
Further along in the episode we dive into the advantages and disadvantages of voting by mail process. What do we do when votes are sent in but then a candidate drops out? Or when a ballot is mailed early on in the election, but minds change after a scandal. How do we prevent fraud? Damon Cann discusses all these topics and more on Instead.
Written by Ari Romo