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'Win-win solution' keeps Utah caucus system, adds direct primary

Published: Sunday, March 2 2014 10:00 p.m. MST

Protect Our Neighborhood Elections opposed the bill, saying it is unconstitutional for the Legislature to meddle in the candidate selection process and would make the "grassroots" caucus-convention system "pointless," according to Blake Cozzens, state coordinator for Protect Our Neighborhood Elections.

Only those with money for advertisements and campaigning would be able to generate the amount of signatures needed for placement on the ballot, Cozzens said. The number of signatures ranges from 1,000 to run for the Utah House of Representatives to 28,000 for any statewide office.

The group also claims it has audio, video and photographic evidence that Count My Vote's petition workers lied to voters about what petition they were signing, telling people the signatures were to keep schools from taking lunches away from students.

The group is investigating legal options, Cozzens said.

Gov. Gary Herbert, who did not attend the press conference, said he is mindful of all parties involved in the debate.

"Gov. Herbert has expressed his support for the caucus convention system as well as his concern with any efforts to interfere with a citizens initiative. He encouraged both sides to work toward a compromise and he is pleased to see they have done just that. As is always the case, he will review a bill once it passes," Marty Carpenter, director of communication for Herbert, said.

The bill has passed in the Senate and will be heard in a committee meeting before the House Government Operations Committee at 8 a.m. Monday, in House Building room 20.

Email: wevans@deseretnews.com, Twitter: whitevs7

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