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Comments about ‘My view: Utah needs nonpartisan primaries’

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Published: Thursday, May 30 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Utah_1
Salt Lake City, UT

Going to nonpartisan will fix it so we have two or three republican on the ballot and no democratic candidates, or two or three democratic candidates and no republicans.

If you are going to run as a Democratic candidate, you have to comply with their rules. If you are going to run as a Republican, you have to comply with their rules. If you want to run and not have those rules, you can run as an unaffiliated or independent, or run as a 3rd party candidate. “Count My Vote” is attempting to change all party rules by changing state laws by initiative, thus bypassing the political parties and the Legislature.

The Caucus System in Utah is the best way to make sure a grass roots process can work over large amounts of money. It is the only way someone with $100,000 can go against someone with $2,000,000 in election funds. We have a system that that does NOT favor the incumbent, wealthy or famous. This is a good thing.

Utah_1
Salt Lake City, UT

One of the principles of those wanting to gut the neighborhood election caucus meeting and convention system we have in Utah, was this: " A system that provides inherent advantages to those who are incumbent, wealthy or famous is not acceptable."

The problem is their proposals would do exactly that.

The Caucus System in Utah is the best way to make sure grass roots movements can work over large amounts of money. It is the only way someone with $100,000 can go against someone with $2,000,000 in election funds.

There were about 120,000 republicans in Utah that went to the neighborhood caucus elections in 2012 to elect the 4000 State Delegates. Add to those numbers the democrats and the primary elections. Certainly the municipal elections didn't do any better in voter representation.

Bypassing the Caucus / Convention System will NOT create more participation. There are 4000 state delegates that spend countless hours vetting candidates to be on the ballot. They are selected by those that attend the neighborhood election caucus meeting. You just have to attend.

The current system does not protect the incumbent, wealthy or famous. I think that is a good thing.

Clarifying Facts
Lehi, UT

Utah_1: I appreciate that you've changed your tune just a little. "Nonpartisan" blanket primaries would help us have more competitive general elections, and it would give voters the opportunity to feel like their vote matters. Since voters would only get to vote for 1 candidate and more than one candidate would advance, most races would have at least one R-leaning and one D-leaning (especially if we decided to let more than the top two advance to the General). In cases where a party has a super, super majority, and one party ends up overrepresented and another party gets underrepresented (or not represented), IRV would guard against the spoiler effect. Then we have to ask ourselves, what's better? The current system (in places like Utah County, the R goes uncontested or the D is absolutely only a token candidate; in SLC, the D goes uncontested or the R is absolutely only a token candidate)? OR, a system where in Utah County unaffiliated voters and D voters at least get to say which R will represent them in government rather than get no say, or in SLC, Rs get to say which D will represent them in government?

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Let's all just demand that everyone gets to vote on every city council decision. Why have a legislature or a senate? Why don't we all just vote directly on every issue? Why have a mayor or governor? The people are being cheated by not being allowed to be directly involved in every vote. Why should "elected" representatives, senators, mayors and governors be the only ones who are allowed to vote? Let's do away with this Republic and become a true democracy. Let's let the prancing horse who is good at public speaking become a "rock star". Let's watch the uninformed public swoon at his feet and listen to every lie that he tells. But, with a democracy, there could be no lies because every person could be counted on to do his duty.

Sure.

Just like every citizen does his duty now and attends his caucus meeting. Just like every citizen "vets" every candidate before voting. Let's turn this country into a real circus where the people are entertained by the "rock stars".

The millions who died to preserve our REPUBLIC are rolling over in their graves.

Utah_1
Salt Lake City, UT

Clarifying Facts,
We could have a general election with 2 democratic candidates and no republican's in Salt Lake County and no democratic candidates making it to the general election in the rest of the state. I don't think that is a good idea.

The author has left the democratic party and is now unaffiliated.

Utah allows someone that is unaffiliated to affiliated the day of the primary and vote in the primary. Our current system has shown we don't have the crossover votes.

The Democratic Party was worried that Republicans would vote in their primary for Rep. Matheson a few years ago. It didn't happen because the current system works.

The current system does not protect the incumbent, wealthy or famous. I think that is a good thing. Keep Fair Elections in Utah.

Clarifying Facts
Lehi, UT

Mike Richards: Where does our Republic end? To me, it ends where our founders said it ends. We the People get to vote on our representatives in government (the founders never said the people should not get to vote on their representatives in government, but only on party representatives, who will decide on our representatives in government). Yes, we have representatives represent us in government so that we can do our regular jobs while they supposedly do the job of the people. But if you take your idea of representatives to its logical conclusion, we might as well have an oligarchy (maybe we already do), or a dictatorship. As long as we get people who think just like we do, they might make terrific decisions for all of us. Wouldn't you rather give people the liberty to be self-governing? Yes, that also means they'll have the liberty to make bad decisions, but at least when they realize it, they'll have a way to change that. As to rock stars, the biggest rock stars I know in Utah became rock stars through the caucus system.

bandersen
Saint George, UT

And what keeps all those unaffiliated voters from a chance to be at a caucus meeting to let their voice be heard? Perhaps a 'good' T.V program or sporting event, surrounded by apathetic friends who don't want to participate, but just want someone to make a decision for them, decisions, of course, that won't take away their 'entitled' government program subsidies. These are hardly the ones I want participating in anything. Of course, these are the same ones that can be manipulated the easiest in a last second TV montage of nothingness, reminiscent of the latest presidential election.

J Thompson
SPRINGVILLE, UT

@Clarifying Facts,

You seem to have a very narrow view of the word, "Republic". We elect those who represent us. Republicans have chosen to elect delegates to represent them at the nomitating convention. Those who prefer to not declare their party can wait until the general election to vote. The degree of participation is left to the individual.

Look at how many want a pure democracy until they get to the general election; then they want a Republic. In a pure democracy, every voter that lives away from the Wasatch Front might just as well stay home, because his vote would be lost. The entrenched candidates would only have to sing their song to those voters living in the largest cities. The desires of everyone else would not matter.

In this REPUBLIC, the vote of each person is equal - if that person cares enough to vote. He votes for someone to represent him every step of the way.

Dictatorships love the circus mentality. Look at Hitler. You can bet that no "grass roots" organization ever had any influence over him.

Yet, that is exactly what you're demanding. You want the rich and powerful to squash all newcomers.

Clarifying Facts
Lehi, UT

Utah_1: If what you say is really what would happen, it just shows how polarized, partisan and lopsided we have become. Maybe we need to look at candidates as individuals, and not put so much weight on their party. And maybe, parties need to re-think some of their issues if they want to be more viable. This system, being a truly competitive system, would incentivize parties to start thinking about real solutions, and start listening to the people better. I think you overstate it, though. In any event, I'm in favor of having the most open and fair elections possible, so I would support allowing any candidate who can get 15% of the vote (using IRV) to make it to the general election (using IRV). At a minimum, I really think we should at least take the top 3 candidates for the general election (with IRV in the General). But this needs to be a larger discussion, with more people so that together, we can come up with the best approach. I would hope that you would re-cant your suggestion that the author left the democratic party and became unaffiliated. That is not true.

Clarifying Facts
Lehi, UT

banderson: if an unaffiliated person goes to a caucus meeting, their voice cannot be heard. They are not allowed to speak, vote or run for a position. If they affiliate as a Republican, then they can, but that doesn't mean their voice is really heard; it just means they got to pack themselves into a room and wonder what happened when it's over. Do you support Republicans increasing their ranks by force? "You get no say unless you join us." Or should they have to compete, i.e., people voluntarily join if they think they're a worthy organization to be a part of?
J Thompson: you're absolutely right. I did a little bit of an apples to oranges comparison. Why? In our current system, Republicans have decided to choose their nominees by means of representatives. That's a perfectly fine thing for them to do. What's not perfectly fine is for the government to aid them in having a monopoly, such that the general election ballot is a complete farce. Republicans should be able to hold caucuses, endorse candidates, and advocate for candidates, but not control who gets to be on a general election ballot.

bandersen
Saint George, UT

Clarifying Facts: Lets get the facts straight here. The caucus meeting is not for victims who sit there and are filled with fear because others more courageous will voice their opinion. What kind of mealy mouse excuse is this? Go in and voice your opinion. It is arrogant to say that you are not allowed to voice your opinion because you don't have the courage to voice your opinion, and then walk out the door voicing your victimhood because you didn't have the courage to voice an opinion. Not only that,I have a strong feeling that you represent those who think that their opinion is the ONLY one that should be voiced, while acting as if you want to be inclusive! Hogwash! A pure democracy tramples on the rights of the minority. Thank goodness that there are those who still believe that we are a republic, as we should be, for they are the ones that understand the whole concept of Democratic Republic.

Utah_1
Salt Lake City, UT

Clarifying Facts, That is how California is run or ruined.

The current system does not protect the incumbent, wealthy or famous. I think that is a good thing. Keep Fair Elections in Utah.

I believe the primary system you are proposing will be won by the incumbent, wealthy or famous. We should put for our best candidates not our richest ones.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I don't like party politics either. But as long as we're going to let candidates wear the party label, and use party funds for their campaigns... we kinda have to let the PARTY nominate them.

We can't just allow any candidate who wants to, to call himself the "Democrat nominee". He kinda needs to be noninated BY THE PARTY before he calls himself their candidate.

If we're going to remove all party politics (nationally not just in Utah)... I'd be all for it. But until we do... we kinda have to let parties have their convention to vet heir candidates and pick who they will support as their "nominee" or the candidate they support.

Just as an asside... If you don't like the party's candidate... you CAN vote for somebody else. you don't have to be nominated by EITHER party to be on the primary ballot. But you do have to be nominated by the party and at least somewhat get their approval, to call yourself their candidate and help yourself to their war-chest.

Strider303
Salt Lake City, UT

The party system allows for people to band together, and select a candidate. People who will not affiliate with a party, and there must be a dozen in Utah, are free to place their name on the ballot in the general election and campaign to their hearts content.

Politics can be a full contact sport/occupation and neighborhood meetings are a way to select a candidate under a philosophical banner.

My take on the whiners is that they feel their opinion should always matter and prevail and are unable to convince others. As to Sen. Bennett, I heard him promise two (2) terms when he ran the first time, and was able to help him keep his word at the last convention.

He had the money and could have run as an independent if he wanted to, I guess "the fire in the belly" his words, not mine wasn't hot enough to motivate him to that path.

Caucuses and conventions and courting delegates help vet a candidate better than pretty TV ads and soundbites.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I still don't see how Primaries take away the advantage of the encumbant and the candidate with $$$.

In a popular election (aka a primary) who wins? The person with the most name recognition. And who has the most name recognition?... Encumbants and people who have enough money to start blanket advertising before they even know if they are going to make it to the REAL primary or not.

So... how does this take away the advantage of the encumbant or the rich guys???

This is just naive to think that going to an early primary (before nobody knows the newcommers and they only know the people who campaigned befor or who they've seen advertising on TV) will not totally give the advantage to encumbants and rich people.

Why is the DMN pushing this agenda?

Could it be that they make their $$$ from Advertising? And this plan would require MANY MORE CANDIDATES adverting much earlier and more often in order to get the name recognition needed to win???

Seems like the DMN, KSL, etc, win BIG if they can kill the convention system, which means more political advertising for them.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

non partisan blanket primaries....

so as many people as want to can be in this primary, and we can't see which party endorses them.

What if we have 50 Democrats and 2 Republicans in the primary? What are the chances of any of those 50 Democrats getting enough votes (with their votes being spread between 50 people and the Republican votes only spread between the 2)? Who do you think would be victorious no matter how many Democrats voted?

This doesn't work. It turns into a competition to see who can convince the fewest candidates to run... so their votes won't be as diluted as the other group's. It becomes less about your vote... and more about what party/group can organize and manipulate the numbers in the primary the best.

I don't like the unintended consequences that come along with it.

SG in SLC
Salt Lake City, UT

Utah_1 is obviously a shill for either the Utah or Salt Lake County Republican Party Executive Committee, and he is obviously aware that he wrongly labeled Tiani Coleman as a former Democrat (she is identified at the end of the article as a former Salt Lake County *Republican* Party chair).

Utah_1 also brings up California's model of "governance by referendum/ballot initiative" in a slippery-slope argument against Tiani's proposal. If California is at one end of the democracy-republic continuum, Utah's "choose someone to choose someone to represent me" is at the other end, and it results in our elected officials being less accountable to the voters.

It also seems that Mike Richards, J Thompson, and bandersen all favor keeping the playing field tipped in favor of political activists because the general masses of registered voters are somehow unworthy to choose their government representatives. This reminds me of the voter literacy tests that were used to deny suffrage to African-Americans after the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment.

Others seem to have issues with various nuances of the proposal, but I think Tiani's proposal is intriguing, and it would probably produce better outcomes overall.

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