Utahns weigh in on Count My Vote initiative

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 16 2013 7:40 p.m. MDT

Daryl Acumen, vice chairman of the Utah County Republican Party, attended the meeting and stood to argue against Utah's need for more primaries.

“I’m not feeling it, I’m not buying it,” he said.

He told Zizumbo, a Utah native, that she hasn’t experienced what it’s like outside of Utah. He said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, called him to wish him a Merry Christmas, said he is on a first name basis with Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and even has Sen. Mike Lee's cellphone number.

“Not because I’m vice chairman of the party,” he said. “Because I chose to get involved.”

Susan Ridgeway said she has been active in her neighborhood and worked to get people to show up at caucuses. The reason she believes many people don’t attend caucus meetings is because they are too busy, they have little interest, or they are frustrated with the government.

“The caucus system to me serves as a neighborhood primary, that is essentially what it is. We aren’t excluding people and most people can make arrangements to come,” she said.

Ridgeway said there is no guarantee more people will take part in a direct primary more than they do in the current system.

The hearing in Provo to review the initiative is one of seven required before the petition can circulate. Three hearings were scheduled Wednesday with four more scheduled Thursday.

There will also be an online hearing on Saturday at noon for those unable to attend the scheduled hearings.

Changing Utah’s system for nominating political candidates as called for by the initiative adds up to nearly $1 million, according to a study released Tuesday.

Parties hold caucuses under the current system to elect delegates who vote on nominees at party conventions. Candidates with enough delegate support advance to the general election.

Count My Vote plans to launch the petition drive on Oct. 26. The same day, the GOP Central Committee is expected to hold a special meeting to consider modifications to the system in an effort to counter the initiative.

Email: eeagar@deseretnews.com

Twitter: EmileeEagar

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