KUER, Tribune and Others Cover Lies in Campaigning

State lawmakers joined us on Friday to expose some of the campaign lies we’ve seen in recent weeks. Selected media coverage below.

KUER’s Whitney Evans reported on the now infamous “Dead People Should Not Vote” campaign and Better UTAH’s efforts to dispel that myth.

The lawmakers pointed to a mailer the Utah Republican Party distributed that states in bold letters ‘Dead People Should Not Vote,’ followed by a line that says ‘Twelve-year politician Carol Moss voted against removing dead people from voter lists’. What the mailer didn’t say is that the bill, which is now law, also calls for the removal of inactive voters from the rolls, which Moss opposed.

The Salt Lake Tribune’s Dave Montero discussed the effect of negative campaigning on the electorate.

Maryann Martindale, executive director of Alliance for a Better Utah, pointed to a quote from Utah Republican Chairman Thomas Wright that read, in part, “I encourage all candidates, Republican, Democrats, independents, to run clean, positive and productive campaigns and make Americans proud to vote.”

She said it’s not happening and it’s making voters less enthusiastic in a state that ranks near the bottom in voter turnout.

Charlotte Duren of KCPW also reported on the negative effects of dishonest campaigning.

Maryann Martindale, Executive Director of Alliance for a Better Utah, says while she believes negative campaigning has no place in local races, she says voters need to take initiative and get informed on the candidates.

“We would tell the voters, when you get these things, call your candidate, call the opponent. Ask those questions. Be informed. It’s far too easy to read a mailer and make your quick decision and select that person. There are ways to find out if these things are true and we are owed that,” she says.

And the Salt Lake Tribune Editorial board gave us the thumbs up for our fight to end dishonest campaign tactics.

The Alliance for a Better UTAH and Democratic members of the Legislature have scheduled a press conference Friday morning to call for an end to the use of dishonest and intentionally misleading campaign materials. That’s a noble cause. There’s no doubt that campaign lies degrade political debate, turn away voters and discourage good people who might otherwise run for public office. The problem is how to distinguish a lie from an honest disagreement about what is true. There’s the rub. And while it seems that the latest campaigns are a new low in the race to the bottom, sleazy politics go back to the Founding Fathers. They are nothing new. We can take heart, though, that the system is sometimes self-correcting. Candidates who offend voters with outright lies do end up burying their own election hopes. Maybe that explains the location of Friday’s press conference. It’s the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

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