KAYSVILLE — Tired of losing local races, Davis County Democrats are eager to explore new avenues to force dialogue on issues, notably education.
Local Democrats held an organizational meeting Saturday morning at Granny Annie’s to access recent election results and to talk strategy for the coming years.
The general assessment from the two-hour meeting is that Davis County Democrats need to do everything they can to generate dialogue on issues they think the public will embrace, regardless of party. They think a proper dialogue on funding for education is especially important.
Brett Garner, county chairman, said an initial assessment of voting numbers in the county shows Democrats were able to hold onto their base, despite an LDS presidential candidate on the Republican ticket at the national level.
“We held onto our base. They did not leave us for the Republicans this year. In 2014 that won’t be there, or in 2016,” Garner said.
Election results will not be finalized until a canvass Nov. 20.
Initial results show no single Democratic candidate got more than 33 percent of the vote in the county. Only two Democrats have been elected to a state or county office from Davis County in the last 57 years.
The task of electing a non-Republican is daunting just from a numerical standpoint. County registration numbers show there are 87,311 registered Republicans, with 13,163 registered Democrats, 2,880 voters registered among five parties (Constitution, Green, Libertarian, Justice and American) and 75,143 voters who are listed as unaffiliated.
Steve Andersen, a candidate for county commission, suggests a yearlong focus on different issues each week, using social media and other means to force discussion. He said there is a stereotype of who Democrats are, based on an Eastern model, which doesn’t always fit local party members.
He suggested a “You may be a Democrat if …” approach to issues like funding education, classroom size, clean air and other issues he termed mainstream.
One issue that especially seemed to generate discussion among local party members is the straight-line party voting option.
Of 113,394 voters who participated in the past election in Davis County, more than 32,000 GOP voters opted to use the straight party option, which is just shy of the highest vote total any non-GOP candidate garnered during the election.
Stephen Olson, of Bountiful, said the straight-line party option allows people to vote for someone they don’t know or don’t know what they stand for. He remembers a girlfriend who voted a straight-line party option for a few years and admitted she didn’t know any of the people she had voted for.
Kaye Donahoe, whose husband, Dan, ran unsuccessfully for the 20th District seat in the House, agrees.
“We need to get rid of straight-line voting,” she said. “They (voters) don’t have to look at issues, the candidates or the League of Women Voters critique. They just have to mark that box. The problem is that box.”