Supporting The Integrity Of Our Democracy

There are simple, common sense ways to strengthen our democracy and ensure all voices are heard, all views are respected, and every vote counts. We believe that healthy and strong communities rely on every person having access to the most fundamental right in a democracy - the right to vote. Meaningful representation depends on organized and active citizens who are ever vigilant in the defense of our democracy.

Ranked Choice Voting

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We’re working to bring ranked choice voting to Utah to make our democracy more fair and functional. This form of voting promotes positive, inclusive and fair elections. With ranked choice, voters can rank as many candidates as they want in order of choice. Candidates do best when they attract a strong core of first-choice support while also reaching out for second and even third choices.

How the votes are counted depends on whether ranked choice voting is used to elect a single office, like a mayor or governor, or if it is used to elect more than one position at once, like for a city council or state legislature.

When used as an instant runoff to elect a single candidate like a mayor or a governor, ranked choice helps elect a candidate that better reflects the support of a majority of voters. When used as a form of fair representation voting to elect more than one candidate like a city council, state legislature or even Congress, ranked choice helps to more fairly represent the full spectrum of voters.

We believe that ranked choice voting would give Utahns more choice at the ballot box and make our elections more civil and representative.

Top-Two Nonpartisan Primary System

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We’re working to implement open primaries in Utah. We want to fundamentally change the traditional approach to primary elections. Under a traditional primary system, the purpose of the primary election is for political parties to choose which candidate best represents their interests. We believe that primaries should be different. Primary elections should be about narrowing the field of candidates field to the candidates who best represent all of us - regardless of the candidate or voter’s party affiliations.

Utah should adopt a nonpartisan Top-Two primary system. Under our plan instead of having separate primaries for each political party, there would be one single primary. All candidates, voters, and political parties participate on the same ballot, and the rules are the same for everyone.

Many of Utah’s elections are already conducted this way – traditionally at the city or county level. Enacting a Top-Two primary system for all of our elections would promote healthy, competitive elections that would give all voters a stronger voice and more choice at the ballot box. A Top-Two primary system – couple with ranked choice voting – would make Utah’s elections more competitive, more representative, and better for all Utahns.

Eliminating Corruption

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There is a growing disconnect between voters and elected officials. The blame lies with a campaign finance system that has made our elections completely dependent on money. Our current system allows a handful of wealthy special interests to dominate political funding while pricing most Utahns out. There is often very little transparency because shadowy nonprofits and political action committees (PACs) conceal donors’ identities from the public.

Utahns believe our democracy should be fair and transparent. We know it works best when we’re all given a fair chance to impact our government. We’re working to develop policies that ensure everyone has a fair chance to have their voice heard. We’re working with local communities and state leaders to craft and enact solutions that will bring balance to campaign funding and break down barriers that keep Utahns from fully participating in our democracy.

It is time to create a new system of small-donor public financing for our elections. Our proposal would provide matching funds for small donations from Utahns and give voters a far stronger voice in choosing our elected officials and holding them accountable. This, coupled with the structural reforms of ranked choice voting, top-two primaries, and improved transparency laws will empower our elected officials to come together and solve problems.

Cooperative Enterprise

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We make significant investments in developing knowledge and resources to support the development of cooperative efforts throughout Utah. We do research, gather resources, promote information-sharing, and conduct ongoing evaluation of our work. In short, our goal is to make democratic ownership possible for everyone.

We have carefully developed informational workshops and presentations to share information about our work and cooperative efforts more broadly. Our most commonly requested workshop is Introduction to Cooperatives. This workshop defines what a cooperative is, what it isn’t, and what it should be - as well as different ways to categorize cooperatives into different types.

We love to design and tailor new workshops to the needs of our audience and will work with you to ensure we meet your needs. 

Our cooperative development program also provides comprehensive business development services to cooperatives. We work with startups, established cooperatives, and businesses considering conversion to cooperative ownership to tailor solutions to their individual needs. We work with every kind of owner including consumers, workers, residents, farmers, fishermen, foresters, independent businesses and municipalities, and multi-stakeholder cooperatives.  development assistance, and educational services to individuals and groups in rural areas desiring to organize cooperative businesses or seeking to expand existing cooperatives.

The main goals of our cooperative development program are to:

  1. Provide educational and business development services that support potential or existing cooperatives throughout Utah.
  2. Improve the economic conditions throughout Utah by supporting the development of new cooperatives and the expansion of existing cooperatives.
  3. Contribute to the improvement of economic conditions of rural areas through the formation of new cooperatives and expansion of existing ones that will result in the creation of jobs; the investment in facilities, equipment, and infrastructures; and the generation of new revenues to support local communities.
  4. Utilize private consultants and other private firms, external educational institutions, and federal, state and local agencies to supplement the expertise of the program staff to develop and deliver the educational and cooperative business development programs.
  5. Provide assistance to groups in Utah who want to start cooperative enterprises, and to existing cooperatives wishing to improve or expand operations.

Our staff and consultants bring experience and insight to all aspects of starting and running a cooperatively owned business. Please don't hesitate to email us at info@utciv.org if you are in need of technical assistance or advisement. 

Learn More About Cooperatives

 

Neighborhood Democracy

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We are the only statewide organization dedicated to supporting the development and evidence-informed implementation of neighborhood democracy initiatives in Utah. We work to address the chronic lack of support that exists for neighborhood democracy initiatives – homeowners associations, community councils, long-term care facility resident committees, consumer and user advisory committees are just a few examples of the many types. 

Neighborhood democracy initiatives are effective at getting informed, detailed input from residents to public decision-making bodies including city councils, zoning boards, school boards, and other decision-making bodies - this makes for more effective policy and can defuse controversies before they arise. Neighborhood democracy initiatives provide accessibility to participation for people who might not otherwise see themselves as participants in governmental processes or decision-making. A strong network of neighborhood democracy initiatives would create connections between leaders of different neighborhoods and communities that would create opportunities for them to work together on decisions or projects that affect local, regional, and statewide problems.

Neighborhood democracy initiatives give a much broader array of people a legitimate voice in public decisions made at the local and community levels. Most importantly, they provide a formally recognized community organizing vehicle.

This community organizing encourages the principles of pluralistic democracy – the organization of citizens into units capable of creating new centers of power – at a time when many feel there isn’t a clear pathway to address community problems. Neighborhood democracy initiatives are a source of community intelligence and data collection that provide critical linkages to systems for those served by them.

It is critical that neighborhood democracy initiatives succeed in Utah. A network of evidence-informed neighborhood democracy initiatives supported by our organization would strengthen civic engagement, promote democratic values, and encourage resident participation. Since neighborhood democracy initiatives are often composed of neighbors the citizenship requirements of voting are not as burdensome and provide a safe way for marginalized and underserved people to participate.

Neighborhood democracy initiatives are the strongest way to promote civic engagements for all Utahns. Our efforts will strengthen and sustain neighborhood democracy initiatives throughout the state.

About Neighborhood Democracy Initiatives


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