Lawmakers push to keep secret ballots private


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SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Taxpayers Association and other business leaders called on Utahns to protect our state's "secret ballot" Monday by passing an amendment to Utah's Constitution mandating secret ballots in all elections.

"This constitutional amendment protects -- locks in your right to vote by secret ballot to make sure that those in positions of power are not looking over your shoulder," said Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman.

State law already requires secret ballots for all elections, but supporters like Wimmer say Amendment A would strengthen Utah's case in the scenario of a legal challenge if Congress passes the Employee Free Choice Act in its post-election, lame-duck session.

Goldwater constitutional scholar Clint Bolick drafted the amendment along with Mike Lee, Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate.

"We are preserving the status quo, in which workers have the right to a secret ballot," Lee said. "That's all we're trying to do."

Amendment A primarily protects against the federal Employee Free Choice Act, which officials claim would allow employers and unions to "look over the shoulder" of employees as they vote whether or not to unionize.

The amendment will be on the ballot Nov. 2 and will require a simple majority to pass.

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Story written with contributions from Paul Koepp.

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