The news conference began with Governor Gary Herbert thanking the candidates running for office this year. He then encouraged the public to step up and pay attention to what will be on this year’s ballot.
“It’s disappointing to think to all of us the fact that we have such a successful state, in virtually every measurable way we’re very positive, except when it comes to participation of our voters. We don’t have a large voter turnout. We need to change that,” Herbert said.
With the convenience of mail-in balloting, Herbert said there is no reason why voters can’t put Election Day on their calendar and make it a priority.
Herbert is still opposing the medical marijuana ballot initiative and doesn’t like the Utah Decides Healthcare initiative, which would expand Medicaid coverage, because of the possible cost to the state.
Herbert is comfortable supporting the Better Boundaries initiative to establish an independent redistricting commission.
“It’s not going to be I think exactly the silver bullet that everybody thinks it’s going to be, but I have no opposition to having an independent redistricting,” Herbert said.
The governor is supporting the Count My Vote initiative because, he said, it improves the existing legislation.
When asked if he is worried about the number of special interest groups pushing for ballot initiatives, he said no.
“I think it is part of the process we have that’s available to create law. There’s the legislature and then there’s these initiative petitions. I don’t think it’s a good way, but it is a way. And certainly can get attention and have the legislature, the governor's office say ‘Hey, maybe we need to pay rapt attention to what the public’s motivation is here and see if we can resolve it,” Herbert said.
Herbert is opposing a constitutional amendment allowing the Utah Legislature to call lawmakers into a special session.