POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Election confidence in America is falling, what can be done about it?

May 16, 2024, 9:00 AM | Updated: 6:20 pm

Mike Schmidt votes on the morning of the South Carolina Republican primary at Cayce United Methodis...

Mike Schmidt votes on the morning of the South Carolina Republican primary at Cayce United Methodist Church in Cayce, S.C., Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. (Andrew Harnik, Associated Press)

(Andrew Harnik, Associated Press)

SALT LAKE CITY — American election confidence is a hot topic in the United States. American trust in elections is increasingly questioned at national and local levels. 

But there are some distinctions to make.  And some groups are trying to help Americans feel more secure at the ballot box.

According to data from the Pew Research Center, confidence levels in local elections remain high. However, trust in national elections has declined significantly in recent years. Pew found that 62% of voters expressed election confidence in 2020. That rose to 70% in 2022.

Both years were lower than 2018, which saw 81% of voters expressing trust in elections.

Meanwhile, the World Justice Project saw declining rates of perceived safety for voters. According to their data, the percentage of Americans who felt they could vote freely without harassment fell from 91% in 2016 to 58% in 2021.

Lastly, data from the Bipartisan Policy Center found that 69% of respondents believed their vote would be counted accurately in the 2024 election. Republicans held the lowest confidence in the study, with only half expressing confidence in a fair vote at the national level.

Related: Worries about election integrity taking toll on election workers

The F.A.S.T. model

Josh Daniels, co-founder of Trust Utah Elections is one of the people hoping to change how Utahns view elections. The company is a non-profit “committed to fostering voter confidence,” according to its website, “through advocacy, education, and collaboration.”

He told Inside Sources host Boyd Matheson that his company uses a model dubbed F.A.S.T. to espouse good election principles. 

“I actually think that the fundamental principles of good election administration fall into this F.A.S.T. model,” Daniels told KSL NewsRadio. “Elections should first and foremost be fair. Then they should be accountable. They should be secure. And they should be transparent.”

 “There’s a lot of specific practices that flow from those basic principles that we do well here in Utah,” Daniels said. “Any state that can follow these principles will, I think, have really good elections.”

Read the first few minutes of the transcript below. (This transcript has been edited for brevity.)

Boyd Matheson: Of course, preserving the integrity and the trust in our elections and election cycle and process is vital to the health of our democracy. Especially when we look at all of the challenges, too. We have disinformation, misinformation, mistrust, distrust. From elected officials to institutions and again to the elections themselves and that’s not good for the constitutional republic. We do a lot of things extraordinarily well in this state and we’re going to talk about those for a moment, but we also want to make sure we’re expanding everyone’s view in terms of why you should have confidence. 

Josh Daniels, former Utah County Clerk and auditor, is the co-founder of the new nonprofit Trust Utah Elections. And our good friend Stan Lockhart, founder of the Lockhart group. His team helps clients strategize, plan, implement government engagement. And (he has) a long history of politicking and leading in the state of Utah. Gentlemen welcome to the studio.

Stan Lockhart: Thank you.

Josh Daniels: Great to be with you Boyd.

Matheson: As we look at all of this, and we’ve been talking today about all the challenges at the national level. It’s easy to get caught up in those conversations and headlines. When it comes to elections themselves Utah has been ahead of the game for quite a while now. What is it that Utah’s been doing right that should give us confidence in that?

Daniels: Well first, I think Utah takes elections very seriously. We (benefit from) the fact that we only have 29 counties. If you look in the midwest and back east there are states with 100 counties.

Matheson: 101 in Nebraska.

Daniels: Right. So we’re able to concentrate a lot of effort on high-quality administration of elections. One of the things that is controversial today nationally, but Utah has been a leader in and does it pretty well, is vote by mail. And vote by mail actually sets up a scenario where we’re very attentive in maintaining accurate voter registration lists, which is also important to the process.

Matheson: Yeah, and no question about it. Stan, you were part of a crucial conversation down at Utah Valley University recently talking about trust and integrity of elections. You shared something with me in the hallway that really got me thinking. We always say that when the sea is calm and the breeze is light and the sun’s out every boat has an awesome captain

But when the storm comes in, the wind blows, and then you find out if you have a captain on your ship. You shared an example from someone at the conference who said, “Better watch out, the tide and the waves may come crashing in and are you ready for that?”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Politics + Government

mitt romney at johns hopkins commencement ceremony...

Sam Herrera

Mitt Romney’s commencement speech at Johns Hopkins University interrupted by protesters

Sen. Mitt Romney was briefly interrupted by protestors as he spoke at Johns Hopkins University's commencement ceremony on Thursday,

1 day ago

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall speaks at the City-County Building in Salt Lake City, May 5, 2...

Aimee Cobabe

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall is asking for a pay raise

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall is looking to increase her pay for up to 26% which will make an additional $44,000 a year. She is also proposing a 5% pay increase for all city employees for this year.

2 days ago

Senator Mitt Romney addresses ongoing drought conditions in Utah during a Budget Committee hearing ...

Alexandrea Bonilla

Senator Mitt Romney says we should be doing more to combat drought

Senator Mitt Romney is taking a look at how money is being spent on drought-related issues and pushing for more collaboration on the subject.

2 days ago

nikki haley shown, she endorsed trump...

Sam Herrera

Nikki Haley endorses Trump for president

The endorsement comes months after Haley ended her own presidential bid in March.

2 days ago

the us house of representatives shown at the capitol, the house passed a bill about sodium nitrite...

Allessandra Harris Gurr

House passes bill to ban a compound used in suicides

Legislation backed by Rep. Celeste Maloy would ban the consumer sale of sodium nitrite, a product becoming increasingly common in suicides.

2 days ago

Former U.S. President Donald Trump returns to the courtroom after a break on the first day of his t...

Sam Herrera

Defense rests case in Trump hush money trial

The defense in the hush money trial rested its case just a day after the prosecution rested.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

Election confidence in America is falling, what can be done about it?