My Affidavit from SB54/Count My Vote lawsuit

Marcus R. Mumford (12737)

Michelle Q. Mumford (13559)

MUMFORD PC

405 South Main Street, Suite 975

Salt Lake City, Utah 84111

Telephone: (801) 428-2000

Email: mrm@mumfordpc.com

Attorneys for Plaintiff Utah Republican Party

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE DISTRICT OF UTAH, CENTRAL DIVISION

 

UTAH REPUBLICAN PARTY,

 

            Plaintiff,

 

CONSTITUTION PARTY OF UTAH,

 

            Plaintiff and Intervenor,

 

v.

 

GARY R. HERBERT, et al.,

 

            Defendants.

 

DECLARATION OF DAVID LIFFERTH

 

Case No. 2:14-cv-00876-DN

 

Judge David Nuffer

Magistrate Judge Dustin B. Pead

 

I, David Lifferth, declare as follows:

  1. I am currently a member of the Utah House of Representatives, where I represent House District 2, which includes most of Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain, Utah. I submit this declaration in support of the motion for a preliminary injunction filed in the above-captioned matter by Utah Republican Party (the “Party”).
  2. By way of my background, I have identified with the ideology of the Party for my entire life. I have always believed in limited government and personal freedoms and responsibilities. I first attended one of the Party’s neighborhood caucus meetings after hearing KSL radio personality Doug Wright extol the virtues of getting involved at the local precinct level in grass roots politics.
  3. I attended my first Republican Party Caucus meeting and read the Republican Party Platform. It appealed to me because it confirmed to me that there were others in this organization that believed the same way that I did. 
  4. Over time, I continued to attend the Republican Caucus night and, at the encouragement of my neighbors, ran and was elected to a series of positions, as Precinct Secretary, Vice Chair, and Chair. One of the most enjoyable positions was that of Party delegate as delegates play such an important part of the Party’s processes for vetting and selecting candidates for public office. Being a delegate provided me with the significant and meaningful opportunity to sit down one on one with candidates to ask about their positions on issues that were important to me.
  5. In all of my early activity and experience with the Party’s caucus system, I also spent a significant amount of time volunteering with the other Republicans to publish and advocate the views of the Party. I began to look for other ways to engage my neighbors and fellow Republicans in these substantive interactions. I led our local Republican organization to start what I called the “Soap Box Derby,” essentially a summer picnic for Republicans involving home made Root Beer and a soap box that we used to encourage our fellow members to get up and talk about an issue that was import to them. This became an important event in Eagle Mountain where candidates for all offices, from Congress to City Council, came to speak to the Republicans in my area. I also used these interactions and events to work with other Republicans state-wide to increase caucus attendance and participation, including ways that the Party might improve its own system in that respect.
  6. Eventually, I began running for public office, being selected by the city council to serve as an Interim Mayor of Eagle Mountain, then elected by the most votes in the history of the city at that time as City Councilman, and then finally to my current position as a member of the Utah House of Representatives, where I am currently in my second term.
  7. I found that seeking the Party’s nomination for State Representative under the caucus system provided many key opportunities to spend time visiting one on one with voters in my district. My district is unique in that it includes very fast growing communities with a very young population and large families. In my two campaigns for the Legislature, I walked about two-thirds of the neighborhoods in my district knocking on doors and passing out fliers. I felt like the Party’s caucus system provided more time and opportunity to engage voters both prior to and after securing the Party’s nomination on a substantive level where I get to start real conversations that give me the opportunity to discuss policy and the issues.
  8. As I consider and plan for what I anticipate will be my third campaign to represent House District 2, I am concerned about how drastically SB54 and its Count My Vote provisions have changed the process for the worse. As an initial matter, I cannot see how the Party will be able to maintain participation in the caucus. I am planning to participate, as I consider Caucus Night a cherished tradition where I get to meet my fellow Republicans. But I am concerned about how the signature-gathering provisions will divert time that I would otherwise have devoted to smaller gatherings that are more conducive to conversation and debate, to places where more people congregate, just so I can be sure to gather the necessary amount of signatures. I am further concerned about how much more time I may need to spend on fundraising or compliance, where I would have spent interacting with delegates to better understand the issues that are important to them. I feel like the process mandated by SB54 are trying to drive a wedge between my interactions with fellow Republicans and my constituents.
  9. As I consider the brief history of SB54, one thing is clear: it was designed to destroy the Republican Party in Utah as we know it. The original wording of the Count My Vote petition jettisoned the Party’s Caucus System all together. The so-called Compromise of SB54 may have preserved the caucus in name but has greatly reduced its importance. Many who attended regularly in the past have shared with me that they will no longer bother. This is a tragedy. The Party that I have grown to love and spent many years of my life building up is being torn apart by people who have admitted that their purpose is to diminish its reach and influence. It has become clearer to me that SB54 was pushed on the state by a few wealthy individuals who sought to destroy the Party after they failed to get themselves or their candidates re-elected.
  10. It is my hope that this declaration will inform the Court of the unique perspective that I have. I declare under penalty of perjury that it is true and correct. Executed this 9th day of April, 2015.

                                                            __________________________________________

                                                            David Lifferth

 

 

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