Poll: Half of Utahns not interested in attending party caucuses


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  • Pat Sandy, UT
    March 13, 2012 3:23 p.m.

    Does anyone know if Salt Lake County still has "automatic delegates"?

  • lwad61 Provo, UT
    March 12, 2012 9:35 a.m.

    No caucus meetings for independents. Since I am not allowed to vote in the Republican Primary why should I bother to go--not enough of us to outvote the radical and non-compassionate right wing of that party. And it becomes increasingly painful to vote year after year after year for good people who have no possibility of winning.

  • On the other hand Spanish Fork, UT
    March 11, 2012 10:19 p.m.

    @Rifleman, if you expect to see democracy in action, you'll be sorely disappointed; caucuses are hardly democratic. If, however, you expect to see a republican form of a republican form of a republican form of government, your expectations will probably be met.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 11, 2012 8:56 p.m.

    Re: one old man 8:38 a.m. March 10, 2012
    "But last year, things changed and the living room was jammed with rabid Tea Partiers who literally shouted down several of us when we tried to express more moderate views than they wanted to hear"

    I go to our caucus to vote, not to express my moderate views. And yes, I expect to see democracy in action.

  • CougarBlue Heber City, UT
    March 11, 2012 6:05 p.m.

    What a truly sad commentary on Utah voters. Their attitude seems to be: "I will let others decide who the candidates will be and then maybe I will vote." This makes for a weak state and a weak nation, letting others make my decisions on candidates. If they are active LDS and make this decision then they are not true to the principles of the church concerning community involvement.

    Those who do not participate actively in the process do not have any leg to stand on when it comes to government decisions and actions. They have excused themselves from being an active and involved American. When half say they will let the other half do the thinking it is a downward spiral for this nation. When 60% do not go to the polls to actually vote they are again letting others do the work and make their decisions.

    They vote they get a card, which allows them to complain. They don't vote tell them to move on and come back after they have become a part of the American process and show they truly care about America and have voted.

  • ST Layton, UT
    March 11, 2012 10:43 a.m.

    I probably won't attend- because I trust my more politically involved neighbors to go and make good choices. I still get to vote in the primary and general elections. I think the system works fine the way it is now.

  • Uncle Charles Where freedom and liberty reign, utah
    March 10, 2012 4:17 p.m.

    Let's be clear folks on this issue, those who are whining about being shouted down and bulldozed are just complaining because they couldn't convince their neighbors that their positions were better. Nothing more than sour grapes.

    Why anyone still quote Jowers is a mystery to me. The guy is a political hack who has disdain for the current caucus system but his wife is a delegate. Hypocritical? Also, there is a process for anyone to get on the General Ballot. Bennett, after he was done crying when he lost in the convention last time, was seriously considering it. Thankfully he didn't and he's now in retirement at the Dnews.

    For you whiny Independents and those who can think for yourselves, why on earth should you have a say in who represents a political party in the general election? You get to vote in the General Election.

    My precinct meetings are awesome. Someone throws their hat in the ring, we ask them questions, they answer them, we vote. No name calling, tantrums or anything else. Just adults discussing things that are important enough to show up and make a difference.

    See you Tues and/or Thur and April 21st.

  • queenbeemarian SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    March 10, 2012 2:29 p.m.

    After reading in the paper that few Utahns are interested in attending caucus meetings, I think it would be interesting to ask WHY? I attended one a few years ago and was ignored and bulldozed. The same people are always made delegates. I was so frustrated and annoyed that I swore I wouldn't go again.
    I'm guessing that is the case in other areas as well. I would be politically active if our caucus wasn't such a foregone conclusion.
    I think we are going to have to face the facts that voters may be more engaged in the future by caucus using some form of social media. That way we could weed out the entrenched Old Guard who have "aways done it this way" and thought they were the only ones who knew what was good for us.

  • Joan Watson TWIN FALLS, ID
    March 10, 2012 1:05 p.m.

    What a shame.

  • Mary E Petty Sandy, UT
    March 10, 2012 12:10 p.m.

    As a regular caucus attendee to Utah Caucuses since 1966, I am grateful for this continuing opportunity for grassroots participation in the political process. While my views may not always be victorious, I have always felt I have had a voice because I have participated.

    You do not need money to participate in Utah Politics. If you feel passionate about something in Utah Politics, get involved. You can make a difference by showing up, weighing in on an issue,or by supporting a candidate or position. This is the work of citizenship and more than anything, it takes time, effort and study - not money.

    The Utah Caucus system is open, but you must step forward and declare and work for your views. Politics is not a one night stand but requires commitment I add my voice to others that encourage Utahns to attend their 2012 Caucus meeting and become involved in this grand work of being an American.

  • Cedarite Cedar City, UT
    March 10, 2012 12:10 p.m.

    As a member of a third party with zero interest in either the bizarre zealous anti-Americanism of the current Utah Republican party, or the scattered and ineffective Democratic Party, I can't go to a caucus. I did go to my third party's convention last time around and probably will again. I bet many of those with no interest in joining the "big 2" parties find themselves in the same boat.

  • goatesnotes Kamas, UT
    March 10, 2012 12:03 p.m.

    I'm going to predict a record turnout at the caucuses this year. If I'm wrong, I'm just a bad guesser.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    March 10, 2012 11:57 a.m.

    The first admendment gives the right to heckle and the right to shout down your opponent are inherently within the first admendment. On the other hand, the right of the government to create controlled public forums where the moderator controls the speach also exists as long as the moderation is done in a way to allow all to speak and not in a way to silence some.

  • danaslc Kearns, UT
    March 10, 2012 11:49 a.m.

    It shows by the comments that most do not understand that the only way for a regular middle class citizen to even be able to venture into politics is by the caucus. If you want only the rich politician's pulling at your freedoms and apron strings then don't become involved. Those who refuse to open their eyes get what they deserve in the laws imposed, the loss of jobs we face and the money we have to pay to keep business rich in Utah.
    This state need each and every one of you to come to the caucus, vote and make a difference here in Utah. Please don't assume that all are out to get you. During the caucus you will meet the average joe just like yourselves. Once your eyes are open to the corruption you will never turn back, I promise. Please be there.

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    March 10, 2012 11:41 a.m.

    What I'm reading here is a whole bunch of victim mentality. They want to complain, yet don't want to bother to show up to ONE NIGHT of interaction with their neighbors to change anything.
    How much should we bet that these same "victims" come on this message board to complain about the positions taken the day AFTER the caucuses?

    The ONLY ones complaining about the caucuses are the incumbents because they don't AUTOMATICALLY get to keep their jobs and those who think the incumbents should have an advantage over any/all newcomers!

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    March 10, 2012 11:31 a.m.

    I remember when I lived in Utah in 2004 a letter read saying all church meetings on caucus night should be cancelled and encoraging us to attend the causcus of our choice. That was 10 years before Bennett's defeat so the claim this is a recent push is not based in fact. Elder Cook may or may not be the first to directly encorage it in a CES braodcast, but it is false to say this is the first time the church has encoraged caucus participation.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    March 10, 2012 11:20 a.m.

    The point of attending a causcus is not to "support" a party. It is to change the party to support you. It makes sense to go to the caucus where you feel you can find the most candidates that you can agree with, but if you go to no caucus it is your very non-participation that makes you opinion not count.

    I have severe reservations about the caucus system. However the reservations are mainly a result of people assuming they should only go if they "agree with the party" when in fact the caucus is the place where the party position is formed.

  • CKS007 Clearfield, UT
    March 10, 2012 11:01 a.m.

    I'm not a Republican or a Democrat. I'm an American. I am legally registered to vote in the State of Utah. Yet if I want to participate in the taxpayer funded Republican caucus/primary, I have to register with a party that I do not agree with 100% (I also do not agree 100% with the Democrats since I'm a moderate who can think for himself).

    My Republican friends tell me that they fear sabotage if they open up their caucus/primary and that the "Republicans should choose Republicans." I am perfectly fine with that, if the Republicans wanted to cover the costs of their OWN caucus/primary. However they continue to take taxpayer money to pay for this. Why does this look hypocritical for Republicans? Perhaps it's just another example of how both parties are more into politics for money/power instead of helping the bulk of American citizens who are in the middle.

    This is why we have little faith in the caucus system. It needs to be opened up to all legal voters or privately funded if you want to make the system fair.

  • Rocket Science Brigham City, UT
    March 10, 2012 10:52 a.m.

    Informed Voter, perhaps you unaware for many years now the LDS church has had a letter of political neutrality read in Sacrament meetings before the caucuses are held. In this letter in addition to political neutrality they also encourage participation in the caucus meetings and direct that all Church meetings scheduled for those evenings should be canceled to allow attendance without church obligations that evening.

    Cityslickergrandma: The purpose of a primary or a caucus is for the party to vet their potential candidates and choose who they will put up to run as their candidate against persons from other parties. While President Washington was against a party system, that is what we have. The present effort in states with open primaries by democrats voting republican in effort to get more delegates to candidates who are seen as less likely to defeat their candidate underscores the need of parties to close primaries and caucuses to only party members. Join the party of your choice and participate in the selection of party candidates.

  • phillyfanatic LONG BEACH, CA
    March 10, 2012 10:37 a.m.

    I will be honest: in my 73 yrs of teaching polysci, never have I witnessed a worse anti-American Prez than Obama.I live in the soviet republic of Ca. It is a hopelessly leftist state, bankrupt and following or leading Obama's national eco., soc, pol,health-public safety destruction. I will still vote in the Pub primaries because I cannot abide another 4 years of socialist radical horrors for this nation. From Obamacare to scandals to borders to debt to a horrid energy solution, this man and his Party are killing our American heritage, history and values. And some in Utah are in a snit because the Pub candidates are not perfect?????Oh puleeze. Anybody but Obama.You ought to be ashamed.

  • DBeck Eagle Mountain, UT
    March 10, 2012 10:00 a.m.

    Having to declare a party affiliation to vote in the primary adds to the sense of futility with this most basic process, the caucus. More of this nation is centrist or moderate than either Right or Left so the process excludes people--especially here in Zion. True partisan debate has led to great things happening in the history of this country. What we have now is leadership by temper tantrum and the work of the people is not being done. The practice of obstructionist politics has led to our present situation more than anything. I would like to see a day when I can register as an Independent in Utah and vote my conscience. I don't subscribe to either party because neither fully represents how I feel or what I know about the issues or the people. My GOP family and friends say this is flakey because I dare have a thought of my own. This reason and much more translate to people not bothering with caucuses. If you are not a Republican in this state, you have no actual representation and much less voice. Poll that.

  • Kris Highland, Utah
    March 10, 2012 8:44 a.m.

    Some thoughts:
    If 60% have never attended caucuses, yet 50% are interested this year, then attendance is going up, not down.
    The caucus/system is not exclusive. I have caucus hosts (not just attendees) who are not of the predominate faith. They are awesome, totally welcome and fully active in the process. Saying you aren't welcome or able to be effective because of your faith is a copout.
    Primaries do not bring the people into the process. Primaries isolate candidates from the vetting of the grassroots and put candidate selection into the hands of those with large amounts of money and influence. The only way for real grassroots candidates to have a chance is through the caucus/convention system.
    Some high-level Republicans are actively working to end the caucus system because it is no longer working for them. Are you going to help them take the power away from the grassroots?
    There are no Âat large state delegates in Utah County as of December 10, 2011. Those seats have been allocated directly to the precincts. So, please come back and participate in this fantastic implementation of representative government.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    March 10, 2012 8:38 a.m.

    I just learned that my "neighborhood caucus" will not be in a neighbor's living room. Instead it will be at the student union building at WSU. That's quite a neighborhood!

    I have attended caucuses in the past. Before last time, they were small meetings filled with people I mostly knew. But last year, things changed and the living room was jammed with rabid Tea Partiers who literally shouted down several of us when we tried to express more moderate views than they wanted to hear.

    Now I understand there will be a "moderator" who will determine who will have the opportunity to speak- and who will not.

    So much for the First Amendment and a citizen's right to speak . . .

    I'll be attending caucus again, but I don't expect to see democracy in action. Instead it will be that Compound Republic nonsense I guess. . .

  • Informed Voter South Jordan, UT
    March 10, 2012 8:32 a.m.

    "I think they are revealing in black and white what we have intuitively thought for a long time, that the caucus system is not doing what it's supposed to be doing," Dabakis said. "It's certainly not engendering the involvement of the people of Utah in their government."

    So do more than 60% vote in elections? I doubt it. The LDS church's effort to increase caucus attendance via a letter read in sacrament services, cancelation of church meetings on caucus nights and DN articles such as this is primarily due to one reason: Senator Bennet's defeat by what some call "radical tea party members". Has such an effort by the church to increase caucus participation been done before to this degree?

  • Paul H West Valley, UT
    March 10, 2012 8:15 a.m.

    If everyone even tried to attend their caucus there simply wouldn't be enough room in my front room. Not even in my whole front and back yard combined. They're just pretending to invite EVERYONE to attend.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 10, 2012 8:07 a.m.

    The caucus system 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 60,000 republicans in Utah that went to the neighborhood caucus elections in 2010 to elect the 3500 delegates. Add to those numbers to democrats and the primary elections and certainly the municipal elections didn't do any better in voter representation.

    Most people that want the caucus system changed, there are exceptions, are frustrated that they don't have as much power as people that show up to the neighborhood election caucus meetings. It doesn't take money, you just have to show up.

    What we need are more people getting involved earlier, not shutting down the system that protects us from power hungry people wanting to take over.

  • Cherilyn Eagar Holladay, UT
    March 10, 2012 7:56 a.m.

    We pledge allegiance "to the republic" because in Article IV, Section 8 of the Constitution, it says, "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this union a Republican Form of Government." Not a democracy, as Kirk Jowers and the Democrats want.

    The principle of representative government is fundamental to a republican government. The founders knew of democracyÂs volatile history, which leads to the majority taking Âlargesse from the treasury, the Âentitlement society seeking more government dependency.

    UtahÂs caucus is representative republican government at the neighborhood level. Anyone can attend and elect their representatives.

    Why do people not want to participate? Perhaps because they are weary of elected officials unaccountable to the people, the corrupt culture of DC lobbyists that buy and sell votes, and the arrogance of officialdom.

    Our schools have taught incorrectly that this nation is a democracy. Most states elect representatives by democratic vote  open primaries. Consider a source of the corruption: it is the transformation of the republic to a democracy through democratic open primaries electing only wealthy representatives who can afford the expensive 30 second TV ads by which they are elected.

    Long live the Republic and the Caucus.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    March 10, 2012 7:14 a.m.

    @On the other hand 11:07 p.m. March 9, 2012
    I had to chuckle when you used the term "Utah Code" because my mind immediately thought about the theodemocratic tone of Utah government. Then I realized you were referring to our statutes.
    My bad.
    Still, the rumors of LDS influence are alive and well...in part because of articles such as this one. It is an obvious attempt to carry the water for the Church regarding attendance at caucuses.

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    March 10, 2012 7:13 a.m.

    Idaho had theres the other day and some young women went on and on of how politics are boring and would rather go to the High School All Star game that conflicted with the caucus. Of course I would of wanted to go to that too. But did go to the Republican Caucus.and people that

    I live in a small county geographically and population wise so caucus did not last long. However in counties that were large with a large repuplican population took forever. One problem wiht the Caucus too was missionaries, serviceman, legislatures in the panhandle and people with work and other obligations could not make it. Idaho's primary is in May when we know who the nomiee for President is. Hard to have primary while legislature is in session. I am glad I was able to make it tthe caucus and cast a vote for President here in Idaho.

  • cityslickergrandma Salt Lake City, UT
    March 10, 2012 6:17 a.m.

    I vote for the person who is best. I am angry that in order to attend the caucus or vote in the Republican primary I have to declare myself a Republican. In my lifetime of living in Utah I have voted for way more Republicans than Democrats, but this policy makes me much less likely to do so because the Republicans have become so right winged.

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    March 10, 2012 5:46 a.m.

    Never been to a caucus or even invited.

    The only thing I see or read that these caucus do is confuse people with deception and arrogance of presumption they are the voice of the people. They limit and control the audience to peers of legislators, special interest, and their established policies and unwilling to accept new ideas for citizens and their rights. The caucuses are geared to business and how to oppresses workers.

    These meetings are staged to exact policy on the citizens to overwhelm common sense and their individuals right and will. They demand rather than show cause for their actions or purpose. They try to steal ones free will and choice for a one policy government.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 10, 2012 5:44 a.m.

    The world is run by those who show up.

    Some people make things happen, others watch what happens and some only wonder what happened.

    The caucus system is superb because is gives power to people who are actually interested, paying attention and willing to turn off their TV long enough to get out and go to a meeting once every two years.

    Simple primaries instead of caucuses place the power back in the hands of the "elite" media pundits, and politicians with the most money to spend on advertising. Candidates with good positions are easily pushed out of the way by that system.

    Frankly, too many voters are simply so poorly informed about candidates and issues that they should not even be allowed to vote!

    Get informed, and go to your caucus and use your voice to help nominate good candidates!

  • awsomeron Waianae, HI
    March 10, 2012 12:52 a.m.

    It is attitude like the ones expressed that keep the old guard in power. The old guard is in power because they are the ones in control. They are in control because they attend and they vote.

    Others in the mean time do not attend and gripe about not having any one to vote for, as in same stuff different day. Sun will always rise in the East and set in the West,

    I do not think that Caucuses should be legal however being legal you must deal with them, you are either part of the problem or part of the solution.

    I believe that anyone should be able run for anything with the Voters of each party deciding in a run off.

    A Caucuses choices for you who we have a choice of. As in the last Election if we can't pull the handle for either one even if with the least of all evils not working well enough for us to vote for either person. The least of all Evils is still Evil.

    Caucuses are not a good way have an election.

  • sjgf South Jordan, UT
    March 10, 2012 12:31 a.m.

    Our Founding Fathers were wise to form a Republic rather than a Democracy.

    Most citizens cannot or will not take the time to really get to know the candidates and issues. Under a Republic, they elect representatives who WILL take the time and energy to really study the issues and candidates, and then vote on their behalf.

    The Utah Caucus system is brilliant, in that it allows exactly this. The people from a local neighborhood get together and elect representatives. These representatives then take the time to carefully study the issues and the candidates.

    As a result, the best candidates appear on the ballots of the primary and general elections. I'm afraid that if left to pure Democracy, too many of us would vote primarily based on name recognition and a few sound bites -- whether accurate or inaccurate, because we don't have the time or opportunities to get to know the candidates well enough.

    Thank heaven we have this wonderful caucus system, that allows every one of us to vote for like-minded representatives!

  • On the other hand Spanish Fork, UT
    March 9, 2012 11:07 p.m.

    As long as political parties are enshrined in the Utah Code, they should operate within a framework determined by the state's citizens, not its partisans. The GOP currently occupies a position of hegemony in the state, so it's no surprise they don't want things to change. Our present system gives a handful of people, many of whom are "automatic" delegates, tremendous power in determining whose names will appear on the general election ballot. Party insiders insist this puts the power in the hands of the "informed", but time and again these illuminati act against the will of the majority of Utahns.

    I do my homework on candidates and issues, and I fail to see why I or anyone else in my precinct should delegate our voice in the process to a proxy who's not even bound to support specific candidates. Say what you will about incumbents vs. little guys, about grassroots efforts (like the junkmail I keep getting from out-of-state PACs trying to manipulate state politics), and so on. I don't buy it. The pyramid of "representation" we currently build ensures that each level is less representative than the previous one. This is ludicrous. Primary elections, please.

  • ParkCityAggie Park City, Ut
    March 9, 2012 10:23 p.m.

    And people wonder why the state lawmakers are so right-wing a majority of Utahans consider themselves moderate. These caucuses get hijacked by these ultra-right leaning candidates who don't have ANY agenda, and then your average Utahan shows up to the voting both and just starts punching the "R's" next to the names. Is sad really. More people should show up, and it's to bad more people are not interested in politics, instead punting the the guy with some agenda.

  • New Yorker Pleasant Grove, UT
    March 9, 2012 9:57 p.m.

    Used to go until I realized that there are so many "at large" delegates that they can block almost anything the elected delegates want to do by majority of the elected delegates. Particularly this affects making changes to the rules and attempts at reducing the large count of "at large" delegates that really control what happens. The old guard always has the big advantage, so what's the point of going to try to make a "difference?"

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    March 9, 2012 9:48 p.m.

    Why would I be excited to support either Party as a member of the church because there obviously isn't room or acceptance in either one for my faith?