SALT LAKE CITY — Gail Miller said she is carrying on the "legacy and passion for participation" shared with her late husband as a new co-chairwoman of the Count My Vote initiative petition drive.

The initiative seeks to change the state's unique caucus and convention system used by political parties to select candidates to involve more Utah voters. Currently, nominees can be chosen by party delegates with enough support.

"I believe that we become a stronger nation when our citizens participate in elections and are engaged with their government," Miller said.

She is the first of several Utahns expected to be named as co-chairs of the effort.

Miller's late husband, Larry H. Miller, had conducted the first meeting of the Governor's Commission on Strengthening Utah's Democracy under former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. from his hospital bed.

"It's evident Gail has picked up that same passion," said Rich McKeown, who will head a yet-to-be named executive committee for Count My Vote. "She brings remarkable credibility."

Count My Vote was founded by a group of prominent Republicans, including former Gov. Mike Leavitt and political consultant LaVarr Webb, who writes a column for the Deseret News.

The organization is expected to launch a drive soon to gather the more than 100,000 voter signatures needed to qualify for a spot on the November 2014 ballot, said McKeown, also a founder of the organization.

"We are not very far away from filing and moving forward," he said.

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