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Comments about ‘Utah's Count My Vote caucus initiative moving forward’

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Published: Saturday, May 25 2013 3:53 p.m. MDT

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Henry Drummond
San Jose, CA

How many states use the "caucus" system these days anyway? Most states got rid of it decades ago. I don't think Utah will have trouble getting this on the ballot and I would be shocked if the overwhelming number of voters didn't support it.

Utah_1
Salt Lake City, UT

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.

Neighbors discussing the best candidates and finding ways to improve this state and nation.

That is being proposed to be removed from the neighborhood caucus meeting. Dropping off our votes but not discussing. That is what is wrong with Washington DC. They don't listen to each other in a meeting. They watch from their offices. We need to change that not follow it.

Perhaps the Count My Vote group should go watch WALL-E from Pixar again, the people on the spaceship.

We are talking neighborhood town halls. We aren't just meeting to elect delegates. We believe the Count My Vote / Buy My Vote group would ruin that.

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.

Utah_1
Salt Lake City, UT

Mr. Druummond,
When people realize this "County My Vote initiative will give them less of a chance to participate but give media and power brokers more power, they will not sign any initiative. This is a power grab by Lobbyists, and those that want to run for office but don't believe they can win if vetted by average citizens asking one on one questions.

Perhaps you should realize that Utah was one of the early states to get rid of the Caucus System. We didn't like the results and voter turnout went down. We changed it to get a governor that wouldn't have won otherwise.

Who are we going to change it for this time? The people, or some desperate candidate?

Vaughn J
Kearns, UT

I agree with Utah_1. The caucus system works because most delegates spend many hours vetting the candidates and making informed comparisons. This compared to a primary system that requires large amounts of money and the decisions of the electorate are based on sound bites. The caucus system reduces the number of candidates for each party to two , unless the majority (60%) think one candidate is superior to all others. With a primary system where there could be 7+ candidates, like in one congressional district this year, the final candidate could end up with receiving less than 30% of the vote.
There were only 5 races out of 45 in the republican party that would have required a primary election if the two top candidates were running. Four of these were in races where the they ultimately ran against Jim Mathewson and lost. What would be gained.

When Hatch was originally elected he received less than 50 5 0f the vote because his republican opponent decided to run as an independent. This is what providing open primaries will cause. Election of someone that can enthuse a small base of supporters rather than the majority of the electorate.

JWB
Kaysville, UT

Utah is not unlike the children of Israel wanting to be like the other states in all ways and manners. Enid Green Waldholtz Mickelson was the spokesperson at the convention and that turned me against that process to listen to her tell how she won when the percentage was higher. That is a good reason to keep it lower as we didn't win with her as a representative even though she is still on radio and in politics. It doesn't make sense to have a Primary when the percentage for primaries are low especially in June. Even the General Election was very low as people have probably already become like people in other states. Only 1 of 5 voted in the general election which was dismal. The problems with the convention is that the Party chairman acts like the President we have now and makes his rules up as he goes along. The electronic voting works but he kept on using voice votes for a lot of the resolutions and general type business. The chairman and other officers were voted by electronic. It is quick and the only problem was a lot of the delegates left early and skewed voting.

Fitness Freak
Salt Lake City, UT

As far as I can tell it's the elite "power brokers" who are behind this initiative effort. The "enlightened ones" don't think they should have to pander to the lowly state delegates. They think its much better to put out obnoxious, incessant commercials that actually convey little information.

Apparentally they think its much more preferable to buy half a million dollars worth of ads BEFORE the primary, which would obviously make the media companies happy because that's their business.

Don't forget - on ANY ballot you can write in anyone you want. Including yourself if you desire.

There's nothing at all wrong with the present system except that we need more people to participate.

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

"Count my advertising profits" is a better description.

This hare-brained scheme is aimed at getting incumbents with deep pockets to enrich advertising giants by misleading the "low information voters" who really have little interest in political candidates and the details of their positions on issues. But, they can be easily swayed by slick sound bites or mind-numbing repetition of ads that increase name recognition. This passes for political debate these days.

Alas, we are the seeing further "dumbing down" of our political system. It will inevitably hasten the bidding war to lure the "takers" for their votes while punishing the "makers" and those who might actually solver or serious problems instead of just exploit them for personal gain.

Keep the caucus system, and reward the efforts of those who care and study issues, not those we really don't care enough to show up at a well-publicized meeting a few blocks from their home on one evening in March.

Kings Court
Alpine, UT

"Delegates opposed to the changes sought by Count My Vote, however, said they felt they were being blackmailed by the group and doubted a pledge that the initiative would not go forward if the reforms were approved at the party convention."

That's funny, because I feel the current system is controlled by the politically elite--the delegates who want to shut the voters out of the process. In a one-party state, they need to open the process to voters. Otherwise, Utah's Republic becomes not much different than China's Republic or Iran's Republic where "delegates" choose who is on the ballot as well.

Bring on the petition. I will be glad to sign it.

play by the rules
SOUTH JORDAN, UT

Look who is behind this. The big money consultant class and the establishment politicians. The answer to this should be simply no. They will raise their money put it on the ballot and win and the days of underfunded challengers will be done away. Incumbency will be protected and the consultants will cash their paychecks. This is a sure way to take Utah from the best managed state in the Union to average at best.

Rod Mann
Highland, UT

According to Rich McKeown, "There's a core of people who really understand that this is a place where you can gain some control, and have some control over the party mechanism,— something they are intent on maintaining." The they referred to hear are the 4,000 delegates elected in neighborhood caucuses as opposed to former party chair Thomas Wright who favored some changes and members of the Count My Vote group including Mike Leavitt, Kirk Jowers, LaVarr Webb ... . Which group to do you think better represents the people and which represents the elite and party bosses. Rich also says, that an initiative is, "last hope you have for changing things." Now that they have been unable to threaten delegates to accept change and were unable to persuade legislators to run with their ideas CMV members seek to impose their ideas on private groups through a state law created by an initiative process. CMV is willing spend $1M to $1.5M drive this initiative and claim that this is the "last hope." Why don't they spend a faction of the dollars to research, educate, and persuade delegates of all parties to implement change. Maybe that will work better than threats.

Kings Court
Alpine, UT

My experience with Republican delegates (at least in Utah County) is that they are egotistical and all-knowing. They think they know better than other card-carrying members because they got elected as a "delegate." In watching the election of delegates, one is utterly amazed at the "grass roots corruption" one will often find with the election of delegates. They will often run as voting blocks, nominating each other (family dynasties in Utah County), and bringing out "neighbors" and "friends" to vote for them who aren't all that interested in politics, but rather are people who are returning personal favors by turning out to Caucus Meetings that they can't wait to leave. After they cast their ballots for their "preferred" candidate they don't even stick around to see the outcome, but leave immediately.

This is how so many "fanatically right-wing" delegates are elected in a state that is more moderately conservative. Most Republican voters are shut out of the political and democratic process because of such an inane system who calls Mike Lee an improvement over Bennett. Mike Lee is an embarrassment to Utah and was basically "installed" into office by 4,000 people who crave power.

Linus
Bountiful, UT

Our career politicians are scared-to-death that the precinct delegates are going to impose term limits on them. Uncle Orrin was so terrified of retirement that he even pandered to the Tea Party. All of you "Count My Vote" supporters don't realize that party insiders consider the uninformed much easier to manipulate than the interested and informed Caucuses and delegates. Don't be fooled! Force the politicians to answer to those who invest their time to be truly informed. Don't turn our government over to those couch potatoes who spend all their time swallowing expensive TV sound-bytes.

tgadd435
Park City, UT

The delegates at the convention were warned that if they didn't give up a small amount of their power then most of it would be taken away. They failed to listen. They failed the entire GOP. They had to act tough instead of being reasonable. They are responsible for losing the caucus system. I am a die hard caucus attendee and I blame those who scared the delegates into voting against reforms. They need to leave the GOP now.

Sal
Provo, UT

It wasn't the LDS Church that got people to the caucus meetings. It was voters' anger at the ousting of Bob Bennett by far-right delegates. That anger will be manifest again as voters sign the initiative.

We voters are not too ignorant to choose our candidates ourselves. The arrogant delegates remind me of the liberal left which believes only government knows best how to manage your life.

From Ted's Head
Orem, UT

Let's dump the caucus system entirely. How hard is it to see that the delegates and county chairs don't want to give up the power they already have? "What?! Trust the ignorant masses? Those dummies will get fooled by TV and radio ads!" Yes...to a degree they will and the caucus system almost ensures that those ignoramuses will have zero participation in choosing the party's candidates. Sure...they can vote in the general election after the smart people (i.e. delegates) have figured out who they want as candidates. Maybe the party should spend its efforts motivating the ignorant masses to vote in the first place. The passion and fervor of a typical dyed-in-the-wool party delegate in the defense of the current system is enough to send reasonable people walking the other way in disgust. Face it...a political party is a club, with its own rules and traditions. Those in the inner circle (leadership and delegates) take pride in their status and associated power and are not going to give it up easily.

Strider303
Salt Lake City, UT

So some people choose not to vote, that is a choice I can live with. I vote, sometimes I win, sometimes not. I really don't care if my neighbor votes or not, that is his/her choice. However, if you don't vote I really don't care to hear you gripe.

Those who don't care enough to garner support for themselves in caucus meetings, and complain the meetings are perpetuating a dynasty they don't like - care enough to get your own block of supporters to vote them out! You can't do it by waiting until the last minute, you have to work at it. Put down the remote, learn the rules and work at getting your way. Politics is not fair, never was meant to be fair, only orderly.

Some folks like to play the victim of almost anything. Start your own party, join another party, but to come to someone's party and want to change the rules because your feelings are hurt and you don't get to play won't cut it.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

The idea that delegates put all this time into studying the candidates is a load of hooey. The delegate elected from my caucus already had his mind made up before the night was over. Dump the caucus. It entrenches the power brokers.

Flashback
Kearns, UT

The Count My Vote people are trying to increase voter participation. Their aim is to dump the caucus system under the guise that more people will participate if we have primaries. Sorry but nothing could be farther from the truth.

They are mad that their buddy Bob Bennett got bounced in the convention four years ago and they want all of us to pay.

The problem is, having primaries won't increase voter participation. That is up to the individual voter to participate in elections. Dumping the caucus system will not change that. Voter apathy is an individual thing. Different people are motivated in different ways. I for one have not missed voting in an election since I started in 1976. I'm a motivated voter. I feel it is my duty as a free citizen of the United States to vote. I would feel bad if I didn't vote. Others do not feel that way.

I spen a lot of time as a delegate the past two years vetting the candidates. I studied them, I talked to them, I read their propaganda. I made decisions that I felt reflected my research and my neighbors wishes.

Flashback
Kearns, UT

I wasn't "egotistical". I knew before the convention last year that John Swallow would not be the man for the job of Attorney General. So far, I have not been wrong. I didn't vote for him in the convention or in the primary election. I didn't even vote for him in the general election. I left that vote blank. I could not in good concience vote for him.

Most state delegates take their responsibilites seriously.

Lets look at people who have obtained high office as a result of the caucus system. Orrin Hatch was a beneficiary of the caucus system. Norm Bangerter, Jim Hansen, Jason Chaffetz, Rob Bishop, John Huntsman (unfortunatly), Gary Herbert, candidate Mia Love, and the list goes on and on.

Bob Bennett said it best after he got beat in the convention. "I have just lost my job." He thought the Senate was his job. He lost the perspective that We The People were his boss. We in effect fired him because he was out of touch. He thought he deserved the job.

The Republican establishment needs to quit crying and work toward helping Republicans. Not hurting them.

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