Here is my original Op-Ed submitted to the Salt Lake Tribune on October 13, 2022. The Tribune published an edited version here on October 21, 2022 titled "Goud Maragani: Unlike some politicians, I do not ‘tweet and delete’".
Dear Salt Lake County Voter,
First, I want to say thank you. Thank you for the warm reception and the many constructive conversations and ideas we have shared. So many of you have been kind, engaging, and thoughtful.
Second, a few of you have asked how I, as a person of color, the son of immigrants, and a member of the LGBT+ community, can align myself with the Republican Party. I was raised as a Democrat. About 12 years ago, as many elite Democrats ran further and further to the left, I felt they no longer represented what I look for in the future of America. That’s when I decided to become a Republican and work within that party for change
As a Compliance Attorney, my campaign to become County Clerk has been about fairness, transparency, and change. You can read my detailed proposals at goud4clerk.com.
Unlike career Politicians who desperately scrub and hide unpopular past comments and opinions, I made the conscious decision to leave past posts intact. I refuse to “tweet and delete.” I own my past opinions in the context I made them, but they are just that - “in the past.” As we learn additional information, I and others change our opinions over time. I changed my mind based on the evidence.
It’s not surprising that the media are using these prior posts against me. Until now, I have not had the opportunity to set the record straight. Here are a few of my comments and brief explanations:
1. 2020 Election: At one time, I thought the 2020 election was stolen. After much review and the failure of Trump and his allies to produce concrete evidence of a stolen election, I concluded that the election was not stolen. Trump lost and Biden won.
I became interested and led a team to review Salt Lake's 2020 election. We found no fraud but were surprised to discover glaring inconsistencies and data gaps within the Clerk’s office. The Clerk’s data shows at least 14,000 ballots that cannot be matched with voter records. Between 9,000 - 26,000 ballots were adjudicated but not tracked. There were no chain of custody records for ballots retrieved from Drop Boxes. This motivated me to run for County Clerk.
More recently, I was stunned that my opponent’s name was included on the primary ballot instructions in violation of the law, representing an unfair value of $230,000 to her campaign. We brought a complaint to the Lieutenant Governor, and my opponent’s name was removed from the general election ballot instructions.
2. COVID Restrictions: Our government shouldn’t regulate who you can have in your home, nor shut down our small businesses while allowing large businesses to stay open, etc. These draconian practices are used in communist countries.
But the reality of COVID changed how we vote. Now that 95% vote remotely, we need to adapt and make sure that every vote is counted correctly and increase the security of drop boxes, mail-in ballots, and the entire process.
3. Open Borders: Under the Biden administration, our southern border is much more open than in the past. As a veteran, I have to ask why we don't do more to protect our own citizens and protect our legal immigrants. This lack of regulation not only allows the tragic lawlessness of human, child, sex, and drug trafficking, but it robs immigrants of the proper process to confirm legitimate status on the legal path to become citizens and vote.
As the son of immigrants, I feel the right to vote and participate in our democratic process is absolutely crucial.
4. Vote-by-mail: I support vote-by-mail. County Clerks do not determine the methods of voting, including vote-by-mail. That is decided by our State Legislature.
With 95% of voters using mail-in ballots, my job as County Clerk will be not only to run elections according to the law, but also to address the many security challenges so that every vote counts.
We have an opportunity, after 32 years of the same County Clerk, to bring fresh eyes and a new Compliance Attorney perspective to our Clerk's office. We can take the Salt Lake County Clerk’s office to the highest levels of transparency and accuracy while engaging more voters in the election process.
I ask for your vote for Salt Lake County Clerk.