The Chronicle’s View: Giving the power back to the people

A major problem with the political process is the fact that many people feel disenfranchised. A perfect example of this is the primary election.

When it comes time to narrow down the field of political candidates for president, it’s hard to escape the feeling that, since some states are counted more heavily than others, the votes of some mean more than others.

Thankfully, there is a possible solution to this cycle. Several political leaders are now proposing that the western states of Montana, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah band together and form a voting block during the primaries, similar to “Super Tuesday” in the South.

With the electoral votes of five states hanging in the balance, candidates would be forced to pay attention to states they had previously been able to ignore. Thus, knowing that they had a direct say in the future of the country, voters in all five states would be more inclined to participate in the democratic process.

Furthermore, the national political power of the Intermountain-West region would increase, and political leaders would become more accountable to the people who elect them. Candidates would also have to spend some time addressing issues that matter to people in the West-specifically water rights, land use, nuclear storage, environmental preservation and disrepair in federal parks.

While there is some concern that a Western states primary would just increase the power of the Republican party in the region, it is important to remember that, during the primaries, it’s Republicans against Republicans and Democrats against Democrats. Voters here and in other Western states would have a say about which Republican candidate would receive the nomination, and hopefully such a program would also help to reinvigorate the Democrats in the area.

Individual state legislatures would have to approve the Western states primary before it can go into affect in 2008 for the next presidential election.

U students should seriously consider this issue and the positive and negative impacts it could have on the political process in Utah and the surrounding states. Contact your state legislator with your opinion.

This is evidence that efforts to enfranchise the population are being made.

We all need to stop feeling disenfranchised by the process and start getting involved in order to find ways to get our voices heard.