My November 2020 Election Ballot

I often title this annual post “David’s Handy Little Election Guide.” I thought about swapping “tardy” for “handy” this time, since I hear that more than half of you have voted already. But then I thought, this year’s offering doesn’t rise to the level of a “guide” anyway, because I’m coming late and underinformed to a number of items on the ballot. However, I have my 2020 election ballot in front of me, I’m about to fill it out, and you’re welcome to look over my shoulder for a few minutes, if you like.

Two caveats: I’m only commenting on races and issues I see on my ballot. And I’m not bothering to comment on the races which are (quite regrettably) uncontested. I’m excluding yes/no judicial retention votes too, because I don’t have much of an opinion one way or the other about any of the judges.

Notes on Election Results (and Some Housekeeping)

Let’s review some election results and consider what we’ve learned and what we might foresee.

United States Senate

Republicans seized a majority in the US Senate, picking up at least seven seats. However, they don’t have a veto-proof or even filibuster-proof majority. So expect gridlock to shift around a little, and the President to have to trade his golf clubs for a pen now and then to veto some bills. But at least a lot more bills — substantive ones, I mean — passed by the House might get to the Senate floor for debate and a vote. That will be a nice change.

It appears that Senator Orrin Hatch will become chair of the Senate Finance Committee and President Pro Tem of the Senate. We’ll find out if that’s worth something (as I thought when I campaigned for him) or just a nice-sounding theory (as the opposition thought).

US House of Representatives

As I write this, we’re still waiting for some returns from the Western US, especially California, but it appears that the Republicans will increase their House majority by at least ten seats. They still won’t have a veto-proof majority, but with their different rules they don’t have filibusters, so 60% is not a meaningful threshold.

I Almost Forgot the Proposed Amendments

For Utah voters, there are three proposed amendments to the state constitution on the ballot this election. I realized this a few days ago, having already published my quirky, opinionated voter’s guide.

Here is a brief account of all three, with some of my thoughts appended. For more information, see the Utah Voter Information Pamphlet for this election and this piece from the Deseret News.

Constitutional Amendment A: Qualifications of State Tax Commission Members

The Utah State Tax Commission is essentially a panel of administrative judges who hear appeals on tax matters. They also issue administrative rules related to Utah tax laws. Currently, the Utah Constitution provides that no more than two of the four commissioners may be of the same political party. Amendment A proposes to remove that limitation and to authorize the Utah Legislature to determine other qualifications for the positions.