ELECTIONS

Utah GOP Chair supports RNC push for single-day voting

Aug 17, 2023, 5:00 PM | Updated: 11:06 pm

Utah GOP Chair Robert Axson said he supports a resolution set to be introduced at the Republican Na...

Utah GOP Chair Robert Axson said he supports a resolution set to be introduced at the Republican National Committee summer meeting. Utah GOP Chair Robert Axson. Photo courtesy of Robert Axson.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah GOP Chair Robert Axson said he supports a resolution set to be introduced at the Republican National Committee summer meeting. As it’s written right now, the resolution has the potential of bringing GOP party support to voting changes that could impact Utahs vote-by-mail system.

Axson shared in a post to X (formerly known as Twitter) his support for the measure being run by Arizona RNC Committeeman Tyler Bowyer.

Bowyer said he’s excited to “establish clearly the Republican Party’s commitment to single day, ID protected, paper ballots, geographically-defined precinct voting.”

Axson said in the post he looks forward to supporting that. 

Why Utah GOP chair supports the resolution

KSL NewsRadio asked Axson if this meant he — and the national party — supports getting rid of voting by mail.

“I support getting rid [of vote-by-mail] if that’s what’s necessary to ensure a fair election outcome,” Axson said. But he agreed that Utah does elections really well, and and stressed that the resolution was to address voting mainly in other states.

He said secure elections are the reason he’s behind the resolution. 

“[This is saying that the party] believes that there are certain steps that can be taken to ensure election integrity,” Axson said. “We’ve seen, over the last handful of years, some concerns in this space.”

He argued that both Republicans and Democrats have claimed at the federal and local levels that elections have been stolen.

“I firmly believe that a fair and trusted election process is one of those foundational pieces of our republic that we have to lean in on and make sure we protect for everyone’s sake,” Axson said.

Utah does not have single-day voting. Rather, the state allows by-mail ballots to be returned for three weeks and postmarked the day before election day.

“If that works for Utah and we’ve ensured everything [is safe] that would still be permitted,” Axson said. “This resolution is taking into account that around the rest of the country there are a host of states who are woefully inept on delivering timely, accurate and trusted results.

What exactly does the resolution say?

The resolution goes on to further explain that its purpose is to have the national party’s, “declared opposition to voting manipulation schemes.”

It aims to “return to the function and historic balloting and polling experience that Americans understand, appreciate, and love.” 

It makes the claim that “election experts agree that the most resilient voting systems use paper ballots, either marked by hand or an assisted device, and are verified by the voter before any means of tabulation.”

The resolution applauds states that “do not require the use of machines and implement hand counting procedures that are fully auditable.” 

Utah is a state that counts ballots via a tabulation machine.

It calls on states and local election officials to implement “fully transparent hand-counting procedures that are planned, timely, and fully viewable by the public.” 

The resolution also opposes any states that “unreasonably expand time periods for early or vote by mail, that makes counting measures intentionally unmanageable or incapable to complete expeditiously following the conclusion of an election on election day.”

It pushes for stronger voter ID laws, and calls for the elimination of “temporary or ‘pop up’ voting locations, drop boxes, or any other voting center that are not fairly defined and bound to a designated geographic territory.” 

Axson said the resolution is about establishing an expectation for voting.

“Putting out this resolution establishes an expectation, if it were to pass, that states would review and analyze opportunities to improve their respective process,” he said.

Additionally, Axson said he would never support nationalizing elections.

Related: How to track Utah primary election ballots

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Utah GOP Chair supports RNC push for single-day voting