STATE OF UTAH — On the monthly Direct Link with Utah Governor Spencer Cox on Tuesday night, it was Lieutenant Governor Diedre Henderson substituting for the governor.
The show was hosted by KZNU Radio in St. George and was carried by stations throughout the state including KVNU (610 AM/ 102 FM). The lieutenant governor summarized what her role is in the administration.
“The Lieutenant Governor is kind of like a Vice Governor, I guess. I am second in command, I am there to help the governor to do what the governor asks, but I also have some statutory duties. The biggest one of those is I am the Chief Election Officer of the state of Utah, and we are in the middle of an election right now, a primary election, as I’m sure many of your listeners know and hopefully they have all got their ballots and they are all voting, ” Henderson explained.
The vote by mail process has been controversial in other parts of the country, but Henderson said Utah has been doing it for some time.
She said when the pandemic hit in 2020, the state already had the system and security in place to make sure everyone’s vote was counted accurately and fairly.
“Not every state was in as good of a position as we were in. So, we started vote by mail in 2012 really in earnest, allowing counties to opt in to going primarily vote by mail. By 2018, all but two counties in the state of Utah had opted in to do vote by mail, so we had been able to iterate and figure out what worked and what didn’t work, and change things and make things better along the way before the pandemic hit.”
On another topic, the lieutenant governor was asked from a legislative standpoint, what are the best ways to address the increasing prevalence and intensity of wildfires in Utah.
“This year, so far, we’ve seen already 195 wildfires, and 162 of them have been human-caused, so preventing these wildfires is definitely a top priority. Last year we introduced a Fire Sense campaign, and we really called on the public to help us prevent these human-caused wildfires, and I have to say, Utahns stepped up to the plate. They responded to our call and actually decreased human-caused fires by 51 percent.”
Henderson said as we’re heading into fireworks season, they hope that Utahns will again use good sense.