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Opinion: It’s our ability to peacefully accept election results that makes America exceptional

Mike Lee and Deidre Henderson understand the importance of federalism in state elections. You can have confidence in your vote

SHARE Opinion: It’s our ability to peacefully accept election results that makes America exceptional
Sierra Tolman and Ollie Tolman leave after voting at the Salt Lake County Government Center on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.

Sierra Tolman and Ollie Tolman leave after voting at the Salt Lake County Government Center in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Public confidence in elections is a foundational requirement for a constitutional republic. Now, more than ever, we must have confidence and trust in Utah’s elections.

We wish to jointly express our confidence in the people who run Utah’s elections and the systems that keep our votes safe, accurate and secure.

As Utah’s lieutenant governor and senior U.S. senator, we urge eligible Utahns to exercise their constitutional right to vote. We invite all to keep watch for those tactics that threaten to undermine the freedom and fairness with which our election process is carried out. 

While in these positions of trust, we are committed to helping Utah thrive by keeping power as close to the people as possible and building public confidence in the institutions necessary to maintain a free government of, by and for the people.

The election systems we built here in Utah work well because of a core tenant of the U.S. Constitution: federalism. When appropriately applied, the division of power between the federal and state governments means decisions that directly impact us are made by people closest to us in state and local government. 

Federal and state elections are administered, overseen and conducted by state and local officials. It is an inspiring and brilliant facet of our government. Like having a diversified investment portfolio, American elections take place across 3,006 counties in 50 states. County clerks, secretaries of state and lieutenant governors know their communities, states and election systems.

In Utah, our neighbors, friends and community leaders run elections. These are people from our towns and neighborhoods. They may shop at your grocery store or attend the same church.

Election officials know that many Utahns have questions and concerns about elections in Utah. But concerns and controversies over election results are nothing new.

Fortunately — even when bad actors test our system of government — America withstands the controversies and rhetoric while other nations fall to coups, war, tyranny and economic ruin. In the United States, there is always the promise of another election. Those who dislike the results of a political race can work to secure victory during the next cycle. 

Our willingness to peacefully accept the outcomes of elections, with confidence that the results are a legitimate expression of the voting majority, is key to American electoral success.

In Utah, we have worked hard to ensure our elections are among the most secure in the nation. Furthermore, we are continually evaluating what is working and what needs improvement. As a result, eligible Utahns can be fully confident their vote will be secure, secret and counted accurately. The dilution of power in election administration, combined with multiple checks, balances and safeguards, makes mass interference in our vote counting virtually impossible.

At the same time, Utahns should exercise personal responsibility. Anyone can track their ballot at ballottrax.utah.gov.

So next time you cast a ballot, think of the dedicated Utahns who make it their daily mission to protect your right to vote in a free and fair election.

Mike Lee is the senior United States senator from Utah. He is currently running for reelection to the Senate. Deidre Henderson is the ninth lieutenant governor of the state of Utah.