Utah GOP official says giving women the right to vote was a ‘grave mistake’

A Republican Party chairwoman is defending Casey Fisher's comments.

Utah State Capitol. Credit: Getty Images
Utah State Capitol. Credit: Getty Images

A GOP precinct chair in Utah wrote on Facebook this week that he thinks giving voting rights to women was a “grave mistake.”

“The more I study history, the more I think giving voting rights to others not head of household has been a grave mistake,” Casey Fisher, a Davis County precinct chair who oversees Republican caucuses in his district, wrote on Sunday.

Fisher deleted both the post and his Facebook account when he began receiving angry messages, according to Davis County GOP chairwoman Teena Horlacher, who defended Fisher in an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune.

“The sentiment was along the lines of what our Founding Fathers believed in,” she said. “Not necessarily that men only have the vote, that was not necessarily what he was saying.” She later added that, “I certainly don’t agree with that sentiment.”

“He’s not trying to say that only men should vote, that’s not what he’s saying,” she added. “And that’s as far as I’m going to go.”

Fisher has not clarified what he meant by the comment, apologized, or responded publicly.

Horlacher, who became the GOP chair of her county in April 2017, claimed that Fisher is being “harassed.”

“Casey has been completely harassed today,” she told The Tribune. “He has been inundated with mean emails, mean comments, mean phone calls. I mean, seriously. He’s quite astounded [by] the repercussions of all of this.”

She added that she disagrees with how his comment is being politicized.

“I know Casey,” she said. “He’s a really good guy. I think he just put something out there without thinking about what it looked like.”

Meanwhile, Utah GOP Chairman Rob Anderson condemned the comment, saying he denounces “any verbiage that disparages voter participation.” But he said Fisher won’t face any official consequences.

The Salt Lake County GOP also condemned Fisher’s remark, joking on Twitter that they are grateful they did not make the comment.

Fisher is not the first GOP official to publicly admit the party’s goal of suppressing voters — especially those that tend to vote for Democratic candidates — although Republicans tend to keep those comments behind closed doors. In April 2016, Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI), slipped up and claimed in a television interview that he believed Wisconsin’s photo ID law would make it more difficult for Democrat Hillary Clinton to win the state in 2016.

And he’s not the only Republican to express skepticism about the Nineteenth Amendment, which since 1920 has prohibited the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex. ThinkProgress reported in November that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, a conservative Republican, once co-authored a textbook that was critical of the women’s suffrage movement.

Several Republican women in Alabama told ThinkProgress that Moore’s position on women did not concern them.