Utah Capitol Hill: Alama Uluave



Ran into my predecessor from the School Board Alama Uluave.

He and I ran against each other for school board in 2004. Ila Rose Fife was on the school board for eight years and did not run for re-election in 2004. I lost to Alama by one vote. The last weekend before the election, instead of campaigning  I went camping with my Boy Scout Troop (Buena Vista). So, I learned my lesson, in 2012 – I campaigned every day except Sunday and even on election day.

The Deseret News had this to say:

Every vote counts

November 22,2004

An election decided by a single vote is every political candidate’s worst nightmare.

Another way to look at this phenomenon is that it underscores the importance of voting, itself. Every vote counts. They seem to count more when races are decided by the thinnest of margins.

If you don’t believe it, ask Alama Uluave and Michael Clara, candidates for the Salt Lake City Board of Education. On Election Day, it appeared that Uluave had defeated Clara by six votes. When the provisional ballots were counted, the difference was three votes. A recount determined that Uluave won by one vote.

Clara, a community activist, observed that there is nothing easy about losing an election, especially when both candidates are so passionate about public schools and their community. “(But) the loss would have been easier if I had lost by 100 or 200.”

Candidates in these circumstances likely replay their campaigns in their heads countless times. Imagine the conversations. “If I had only knocked on 10 more doors, passed out a few more leaflets or attended every ‘meet the candidate’ night. Maybe this would have turned out differently.”

Are there voters who, for whatever reason, didn’t turn out to the polls Nov. 2 and who are kicking themselves because they now understand that their vote could have influenced the outcome of an election? There’s Monday morning quarterbacking aplenty in situations like these.

Because the Deseret Morning News isn’t in the business of making political endorsements, our only sense of Clara and Uluave is that they have handled this situation as gentlemen, and that both remain committed to the students in their school board precinct. Seemingly, either would have served their community well.

The moral of this story is that local elections can turn on a handful of votes. In 2001, a Taylorsville City Council race was decided by three votes, and a Draper City Council seat came down to five. Last year, a South Jordan City Council election was determined by a single vote. In Washington Terrace, Weber County, the 2003 mayoral’s race was decided by a toss of the dice after the incumbent mayor Mark Allen and challenger Robert Garside each received 724 votes. Allen retained his office.

Every vote counts, indeed.

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