Comments about ‘Letters: Frustrating system’

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Published: Saturday, March 24 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Clearfield, UT

The best way to fix the problem with the caucuses is to eliminate them. At least, with a primary election vote, a voter can be sure his/her vote goes where s/he wants it to go. that's absolutely not true with a caucus.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

If the caucus system were changed to be a "primary", every incumbant would die in office.

At my precinct, almost nobody knew anything about any candidate running for Senate except for Mr. Hatch. The purpose of the caucus system is to level the field so that everyone has an equal chance of being elected.

Without looking, can you name eight Republican senatorial candidates? Do you know where they stand on issues? Do you know the voting record of those who have held public office? If you don't know those things now, how could YOU have exercised your right to vote on the 15th without making a mockery of the process?

What we do is elect trustworthy delegates who WILL research the candidates, who WILL listen to the members of the precinct, who WILL uphold the principles of the people of that precinct when candidates are elected at the nominating convention.

Too many people want to put the cart before the horse. They want to hold an election when they have no idea who is running - except for the incumbant who started serving before many in the precinct were born.

Orem, UT

It's pretty obvious that this system needs to be done away with. Most Utahns are clearly unhappy with it? Why should a few minority repubs rule over the majority?

Sandy, UT

In response to Mr Richards comments, I would ask him what one can truly learn in one night about delegates or candidates? We see every day of an over exposed campaign of Republican candidates that we still know nothing of how they really stand on issues. Is it the opinion they had 4 years ago, the one they have today in Louisiana or the one they had last week in Illinois? If a delegate believes that a woman should have the right to make decisions about her own health do you really believe that candidate for delegate is going to admit it to a crowd of the zealous that have an alternative view? 4 years ago the process was hijacked and I hope many understand how we must fix it. I do not dispute the need for all citizens to become informed but the time to really manifest their displeasure is in November and not April when only one side has a voice. but then again this is Utah and this is a one party state.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah


The purpose of the caucus in not to vote on candidates. The purpose is to elect delegates who will LEARN about candidates, who will TALK to the candidates, who will EVALUATE the candidate, who will TELL the members of the precinct about the candidates and then will be told by the members of the precinct what that members think about the candidates.

The caucus is the start of the process. It is not the time to vote on candidates.

Too many think that because they can name the name of one candidate, they have performed their civic duty. All that proves is that they are shills for that candidate. They might as well be paid "volunteers".

A jury does not pre-decide the fate of the prosecuted. A jury first hears the evidence. In the same way, a delegate can't vote until he knows the "evidence". If the caucus was the place to pledge to vote for a particular candidate, the nominating convention could take place the day after the caucus. That's not the way it works. The delegates have a month to "hear the case" before voting on candidates.

Mark l

It's only a frustrating system when you don't understand it. Mike Richards has explained the caucus system very well. Talk to your precinct chair and delegates, if you have questions or concerns.

On the other hand
Spanish Fork, UT

@Mike Richards, a delegate is not a jury member. A delegate is not asked to be objective, nor is a delegate given a set of codified criteria that they are obligated to use in selecting which candidates to support. A delegate has all the discretion in the world to pick whichever candidates float his or her boat. It could be the candidates who offer the best free lunch, or the candidates who take a position on a fringe issue which happens to be a pet topic for the delegate. The system doesn't require rhyme or reason, and it certainly doesn't require the delegate to adopt a position representative of the collective will of his or her precinct. In fact, the delegate has virtually no accountability to the people who elected him or her.

There are as many political philosophies as there are voters. Utah's GOP caucus system takes hundreds of thousands of political philosophies and silences the vast majority of them, leaving only 4,000 philosophies with any clout. You can come up with all the noble analogies you want to describe this system; I will still view it as mass disenfranchisement. Nothing remotely noble about that.

Freedom of Assembly
Orem, UT


The point isn't to learn in one night about the delegates or the candidates instead it's to have spent months, years or even decades as neighbors with someone you trust and voting for them as a delegate to speak for you. It is not to bind them or to expect them to vote for a person you agree with instead it is to trust them to select someone who is trustworthy.

This is not a one party state. The fact that people get involved doesn't means we are a one party state and not a state of millions of people who don't share your opinion. There are 6 political parties in Utah but I suspect you can't name them all without looking.

Don't blame us if the majority votes for someone you don't agree with or chooses to vote for candidates of a specific political party over others. If anything I'm sure that 4 of the 6 political parties would say "we are a two party state."

John C. C.
Payson, UT

You have heard people protest, "We are not a democracy, we are a republic!" This is an example of what they mean. They are the minority of activists who fear the voice of the majority. As long as the majority doesn't show up at caucus, there's not much we can do.

I'm not afraid of democracy.

1. Let's make sure all the candidates are registered before the caucus is held. How can discuss the candidates we prefer with practically no time between candidate registration and the caucus?

2. Let's raise the Republican threshold for sending candidates to a primary up to at least 75% of the convention delegate vote. (These rules can be changed in the spring of 2013, when the organizing convention is held.)

3. Let's make voting precincts smaller so we have time to discuss the issues, the candidates, and the views of potential delegates.

4. Perhaps we can have aspiring delegates express their positions on major issues and candidates before the actual caucus so the selection process isn't so long.

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