Comments about ‘Backers of initiative to alter political nomination system to poll Utahns’

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Published: Tuesday, June 4 2013 5:38 p.m. MDT

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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

Our only problem with our voter turnout is that it has not kept up with the state's population increase. The voter turnout keeps going up but not as fast as the population.

Some of that is the younger voters, where Utah has a larger percentage of them and they aren't, as a group, as involved. Some of that are those moving in and not understanding our system.

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.

Claudio
Springville, Ut

The current system obviously protects the incumbent. The only time that's different is when the extreme right dislikes the far right candidate (as occurred in the only two significant cases in recent memory: Jason Chaffetz for Chris Cannon, Mike Lee for Bob Bennett). Somehow, such a minority group is allowed to dictate Utah politics. Of course, that group believes the caucus system as is works wonderfully.

Another possible reason for low voter turnout that you failed to mention; everyone already knows what the result will be. The guy/gal with the R next to their name wins. Utah's youth vote at a higher rate than their peers nationally, so that isn't as big a concern. The one-party domination is.

If you truly believe most people believe your way, you would have no problem with a primary election with every candidate from your party on the ballot. People are more likely to go vote when they have 12 hours to do so, rather than having to attend a 1-2 hour caucus meeting during a weekday, in the state with the highest population of any state under 18. The rest of the country figured this out. Why can't Utah?

DN Subscriber 2
SLC, UT

Let the Republican Party decide how to nominate candidates. Anyone who does not like the Republican process is free to join any other party, or start one of their own.

Those pushing to gut the current and very successful system are some of the party "elites" who want to be king makers,the news media and their advertising departments who stand to make huge profits from the inevitable blitz of advertising that comes with more primaries, and incumbents with strong name recognition, but low approval.

Remember, Mike Leavitt got booed at the Republican convention and nearly forced into a primary. That blow to his large ego certainly has to be factored into why he supports this. Bob Bennett, dethroned from his "Senator for life" sinecure at a convention is likewise hardly an impartial analyst.

Keep the caucus system- it allows everyone who wants to participate to engage in the process, and places a lot of burden on people who pay attention and actually meet with the candidates for in-depth sessions.

Keep the caucus instead of making nominations based on massive advertising and clever sound bites which might appeal to "low information voters."

Utah_1
Salt Lake City, UT

@Claudio
Chaffetz didn't hit 60% and it went to a primary and Cannon lost.

Tim Bridgewater was selected by 57% of the delegates. Lee managed to get 43% and make it to a primary. Sen. Bennett endorsed Tim Bridgewater.

Bypassing the Caucus / Convention System will NOT create more participation. Approx. one out of every 4 or 5 republicans attended their neighborhood election caucus meeting this last year. One in every three told a KSL poll they were involved or attending. There are 4000 state delegates and many more county delegates that spend countless hours vetting candidates to be on the ballot. They are selected by those that attend the neighborhood caucus meeting.

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.

Claudio
Springville, Ut

Again, if you trust the people, you allow them to vote. The caucus system attempts to limit the number of voters able to decide who the candidate is. Anyone who says otherwise is simply being disingenuous. Allowing people to vote should not be something candidates are afraid of; why run for office if you're afraid of voting?

Utah_1
Salt Lake City, UT

Claudio
It isn't trusting the voters. We don't want to turn in to CT where you have to be rich to run for office. Fair Elections matter. You really want the system in places like CT or Calif? CT hates theirs. and Calif? How well is that working. We don't need to provide more power to the lobbyists and corporations. We already have issues here. No need to make it worse.

Claudio
Springville, Ut

If you honestly believe the wealthy, the corporations, et al don't have the same power here currently, I really don't know what to tell you. Ignorance is bliss I suppose.

Vaughn J
Kearns, UT

I was a delegate and I went to nearly every candidate meet and greet. The primary election process that it seems that everyone wants will result in inferior candidates. If 10-12 candidates enter from each party then the top two vote getters could end up with only about 10% of the vote. The current system results in the potential of the 4000 delegates spending time to know the candidates and not relying only on 30 second sound bites. In most cases the top two candidate in a party will end up in a run-off, as occurred in the republican senate races in 2010 and 2012. If one candidate appears to the delegates to be the best choice for the party then the expense and time spent on a primary is eliminated, as occurred with Mia Love in the 4th district.

The main problem with the caucus system is that there is little information about the individual candidates that are to be vetted in the electorates knowledge base. Last year it was the difference between Lillenquist and Hatch. The other candidates didn't enter the discussions at the caucus meeting.

I think most delegates are immune from being bought.

Straitpath
PROVO, UT

I applaud the system that got the entrenched Bob Bennett's defeat.

cookslc
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The article says little about the proposed GOP alternative, and is mostly a rehash of what we already know

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

I find it rather disingenuous of the current party leaders who are launching their own initiative drive with such a similar sounding name. I suspect they chose the similar name just to confuse the issue to protect their own hold on power. Chairman Stalin could take lessons from them!

lket
Bluffdale, UT

Bob Bennet was the better of the 2 and put america before party. hatch had a record amount of out side money come in to save him. the drug companies and supplement industry love him. he protects them from laws to protect the public from poison or accidental death. unregulated industries can do almost anything they want. like the fragrance industry they put toxins in many products but they dont have any real rules so you are on your own.

JWB
Kaysville, UT

Bennett wasn't defeated because of a Primary so going to the primary isn't going to guarantee someone that a group wants to defeat is gone, the caucus as constituted did that, point blank. Count My Vote people sure had the worst person be their spokesperson during the convention. It could have been a winner but the person got up and as soon as I heard the voice, I was against it as that person got elected due to inside track with the Party upper people and their glass ceiling concept. That person was incompetent in office and some due to circumstances of a spouse that brought some of that.

Primaries are what many, many states have and that doesn't guarantee a high moral value as people don't vote now in Primaries when the Caucus system throws the candidates to have the other party vote against the one we want. They may lose the vote for their party but in most cases, it doesn't count anyway. It gives the Democrats one way to throw the results, almost like being in Chicago. Thanks for Illinois providing a great President Lincoln and another President who thrives from Chicago.

The STAR Forum
Coalville, UT

We are a Republic not a democracy. The caucus system is the best example of that Republic at work, where we elect our closest friends and neighbors to study out the candidates in hours of meetings. This ensures that we are electing the best candidates instead of just the richest or the highest name recognition. Also I have personally witnessed in primaries times where people switch to Republican to throw the vote, and then switch back to Democrat afterwards. This is allowing Democrats to choose candidates instead of Republicans. Everyone I know from other states are envious of our caucus system, because its much harder to corrupt.

NeilT
Clearfield, UT

Claudio. I totally agree with you. The only ones supporting the caucus system is the tea party. They packed the caucus with anti Bennett delegates and managed to elect Lee. If Lee and Bennett had been on the primary ballot Bennett would have won by a comfortable margin and the tea party knew that. Lee has openly admitted he is totally indebted to the tea party and will do and say anything to keep their support. Anyone who believes delegates are elected to study the issues and elect the best candidate is delusional. Nine out of ten delegates already have their minds made up prior to the caucus. I know I have been one of them. I attended my caucus with one intention, vote for Bennett.

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