Bob Bernick’s Notebook: Counterintuitive

No matter how much I puzzle upon it, I still don’t understand it.

Why, when there is ample proof that making voting easier benefits Utah Republicans, do Republicans in the Legislature work so hard to make voting harder?

It’s counterintuitive.

But there it is.

Year after year.

Bill after bill.

And now, bless their little hearts, they’re doing it again.

Here’s the tale:

In the House Rules Committee Thursday morning, in a party line vote, 6-2, GOP legislators declined to move to standing committee two bills that allow small steps toward making voting easier in our state.

HB219 and HB220 by House Minority Whip Rebecca Chevez-Houck, D-Salt Lake, expands a pilot program of same-day voter registration balloting and expands the Vote By Mail program, respectively.

The bills would make it a bit easier for Utahns to cast ballots.

And, since by far most Utahns are Republicans, making it easier to vote means more Republicans would vote.

You don’t have to take my word for it.

How about you listen to former Utah GOP chairman Thomas Wright: Two years ago Wright testified before a legislative committee ASKING his own party members to vote for a same-day registration/voting bill.

A Utahn who was not registered to vote could go to a polling place on Election Day, sign up for a provisional ballot, cast that ballot, and then later his ballot would be counted after he proved that he is, indeed, qualified to vote in Utah.

Thomas’ reasoning? Since by far most Utahns are Republicans, making it easier to vote in Utah means more Republicans vote.

Need more convincing?

Take the 2014 elections.

On election night in November, by narrow margins Democratic candidates won three Salt Lake County Utah House seats.

But, several weeks later, when absentee, provisional (including same-day registration voting in Salt Lake County) and last-minute Vote By Mail ballots were counted, Republicans won those three close races.

That’s right.

The very bills/voting changes Chevez-Houck is pushing in HB219 and HB220 actually AIDED three Republican candidates to win last November.

Yet, arguing that getting more people to vote is actually a good thing, when Chevez-Houck proposes that same-day registration voting and Vote By Mail is expanded, Republicans on the House Rules Committee vote to take those bills off the agenda, denying – at least for now — them a hearing in a standing committee.

It almost makes one want to walk up to those GOP Rules members and knock them on their combined heads with a Nurf bat.

“Hello! Anyone in there?”

If Utah didn’t have Vote By Mail, or absentee balloting, or provisional ballots, three new GOP House members wouldn’t be sitting in the Chamber.

Democrats would be sitting in those seats.

I know the new Common Core math can be a problem. Some kids and parents are having a hard time with it.

But try this equation: Republicans outnumber Democrats 3-to-1 in Utah.

If you have four peaches, and you give one peach to a Democratic House candidate, and you give three peaches to a House Republican candidate. Which candidate has the most peaches?

I know. I know. There’s the old argument that making voting easier allows for voter fraud.

Just one problem. Utah has NO real voter fraud. County clerks say it. The State Elections Office says it.

We are not Chicago. We’re squeaky clean Utah.

Making it easier to vote in Utah means more citizens will vote in Utah, which means more Republicans will vote in Utah.

So, whose in favor of making it easier to vote in Utah?