Comments about ‘State GOP leaders plot strategy against Count My Vote initiative’

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Published: Saturday, Sept. 21 2013 6:10 p.m. MDT

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sherlock holmes
Eastern, UT

Hurray for the concept of having a primary election. It's time has come and then some. Candidates have many ways to get their message out these days, and every citizen deserves the opportunity to choose for whom he/she will vote. There is no need for a caucus system to select an elite few who then have all the fun.

Let's try a primary election. The Party would still be the Party. There would be no power shift to the dems. Many states are doing it this way. And doing it successfully. More involvement -- more energy.

Orem, UT

As long as the Caucus system is in place, I have a voice. If we can just get it so we have a primary only, then the richest politicians can buy their way in.

I have ABSOLUTELY NO input in a primary. This is why the Democrats want the Caucus to go away. To suppress the input of citizens who make an effort to get involved, but can't afford the big billboards.

When was the last time you could actually get a real answer from a politician? I asked my local representative to get answers, and he did. That was why Bennett isn't there anymore.

Salt Lake City, UT

We call upon Citizens of Utah , the Utah Legislature, and Political Parties in Utah to protect the Utah Neighborhood Election, Caucus and Convention Candidate Nomination Process.

We have a system that that does NOT favor the incumbent, the wealthy or the famous. This is a good thing, and should be preserved.

The Neighborhood Election and Convention system in Utah is the best way to make sure a grassroots process can win over large amounts of money. It is the only way someone with $100,000 can go against someone with $2 million in election funds.

We want neighbors discussing the best candidates and finding ways to improve this state and the nation. If the system is changed, we would be dropping off votes, but not meeting and discussing candidates and issues. That is what is wrong with Washington, D.C. They don’t listen to each other in a meeting. They watch from their offices. We need to change that, not perpetuate it.

Salt Lake City, UT

We already have a "bypass" system, filing as an unaffiliated candidate. A candidate can go straight to the general election ballot. Someone who doesn't think they can win if vetted by average citizens asking one on one questions can still run and spend their money. Why should they be a political party nominee if they are going to bypass their political party?

At only one time for 10 years in Utah’s history did the state depart from the Neighborhood Election, Caucus and Convention System. In 1937, a powerful democratic state senator convinced enough of the legislature to switch to an open primary. He had had two losses, a US Senate race and also for governor, because the majority of the convention delegates disagreed with his legislative voting record. But he was well known and had money.

Many at the time felt like an open primary was his ticket to the governorship, and he did win. But the change in the system only lasted for a decade. After public and media disillusionment, and even worse voter turnout, Utah restored the Caucus and Convention System. Why go back?

Salt Lake City, UT

sherlock holmes
We tried the Primary system without the caucus. It lasted for 10 years and voting went down.

Our current problem with voter turnout is it has not kept up with the population increases. 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. We need to educate those moving in and not understanding our system.

Many citizens who attend their neighborhood elections and caucus meeting become interested in politics and get involved in their communities, the state and the nation. They meet and help candidates become elected. Some then later become candidates. This should be encouraged through education.

The system and the experience attending the meetings can always be improved, but the “Count My Vote” initiative isn't the way to do it. Any changes to the system the political parties use to determine their nominees should be determined by the political parties.

Sugar City, ID

About time Utah started believing in its citizens. But power will never be given up without a fight. Explain to us why the initiative is unconstitutional Utah GOP.

Dixie Dan
Saint George, UT

The best reason for Count My Vote to succeed is Mike Lee. How anyone could possibly think he would be better than Bob Bennett is a mystery. To save the economy, Bennett voted for TARP which caused him to lose in the caucus. Now we have Lee whose vote my well cause a severe economic collapse of our economy. Brutal is the only word I can think of that describes Senator Lee.

Layton, Utah

Those who like the status quo, take heed. The majority of Utah is not on your side, & you know it! You don't like government making decisions for you, yet you have no problem making decisions for others. I want to make my own decisions. Don't tell me garbage like, "you can decide to go to the neighborhood meetings". Blah, blah. I don't want my neighbors making decisions for me, I don't care how much more time they have to spend w/candidates. I'll spend my time doing my research & make my own decision on who to vote for! If I don't do as much research as my neighbor, oh well, at least the decision is mine & mine alone, as it should be. I don't like the crowds that are turning up to these Republican neighborhood caucuses. I don't want them making decisions for me. Yeah, they've made great decisions-Mike Lee & a state auditor that isn't even a CPA (who also is always posting on Facebook during times I'd think he'd be working, & his posts rarely have to do with what he was elected for!)

Salt Lake City, UT

Dixie Dan,
re: Sen. Bennett in 2010. He was not in the top 2 coming out of convention. In fact the more moderate Tim Bridgewater was selected by 57% of the delegates in the last round. Mike Lee managed to get 43% and make it to a primary. Sen. Bennett endorsed Tim Bridgewater during the primary, but with voters ticked at TARP and ObamaCare, they went with Mike Lee.

I am concerned direct primaries would result in a system where only wealthy, well-funded candidates could get elected and there would be no incentive for candidates to visit rural areas, whereas now a candidate can’t afford to neglect anywhere delegates live.

I’m nervous that we’re going back to a system Utah tried for 10 years and didn’t like and we’re going to create fly-over counties. Individuals who do not have the name-recognition or the money will have a much harder time getting involved to start with.

one old man
Ogden, UT

As long as the Caucus system is in place, I DO NOT have a voice. Only a few people attend our neighborhood caucus. Most of them are Tea Party right wing extremists. They are able to completely commandeer and control a meeting, shouting down any who try to speak in more moderate voices.

The idea that it will favor the wealthy can be taken care of by carefully planning the process by which a person's name is placed on the ballot. Requiring a certain number of signatures on a petition is a start with no filing fees and a requirement that no one may be paid to collect those signatures or advertise on TV or other media. If it is a good person seeking support from those who know him or her, the playing field will be much more level.

But finding a good solution is probably beyond our Republican Party.

Orem, UT

Well "one old Man" sounds like you should go to the Caucus and have a say. I do. Once there is only a primary system, only the rich and connected will be able to get in.

Fitness Freak
Salt Lake City, UT

"Count my Vote" SHOULD be called "Buy my Vote" Take a good look at the people who are pushing the idea.
Old time politicians who, somehow, didn't seem to mind the caucus system that got THEM elected.

All that changed the last few years when people began to notice more and more how politics directly affects their lives. To our credit, we are holding our politicians MUCH more accountable than ever. Incumbent politicians don't always appreciate that.

The caucus system makes politicians MUCH more accountable than a direct primary.

Some of the "old guard" think THEY should mostly decide who represents Utah. THEY think they know best.

By the way; you can STILL write in any name you wish on the ballot. Your own if you want.

Why not let the political parties pick who represents THEM?

Provo, UT

Bob01, well put.

Note the Republican leadership's strategy here- treat rural voters as gullible, try to drive a divisive wedge between them and the Wasatch Front, do whatever it takes to frustrate the will of the people. The party insider network is running scared and they know the majority of citizens want their state back.

Fitness Freak, political parties are welcome to make their own rules and act as entirely private entities- but really acting as private entities requires that they they stop using public infrastructure for their activities (e.g. caucus meetings), have party endorsement information and straight-party options removed from ballots, etc. If you think the parties in Utah should go for that, go right ahead! Otherwise, if they're taking public benefits, the public can set conditions to promote the public interest.

DN Subscriber 2

If you don't like the caucus system- then show up at the caucus after getting a bunch of neighbors to agree with you, and YOU might get elected to be a delegate. If you are too busy, that just indicates that you have chosen to make other things a priority and helping select nominees is too much bother for you.

The people who want direct primaries are the powerful elites, with the money and name recognition to fool enough low information voters to win. The other supporters are the media, who stand to get rich selling advertising for a primary, and political pundits who want to be able to fool people into voting for their choice.

No, the caucus system is the best was to ensure grass roots participation, and thorough review of candidates with ample opportunity for the most people to make their views heard.

If only 5 out of 50 states use the caucus system, then the smart ones will eventually switch to it. Most states are poorly run with lots of bad politicians, and direct primaries seem to help them stay in power.

Keep the caucus system. And everyone should show up!

Layton, Utah

Calling people "low information voters", which people have stolen from Rush Limbaugh, is so condescending, it speaks to where these types of people are coming from. They scream about not wanting to be controlled by elitists, yet don't even realize their own actions make them the elitists. Telling people they are "low information", is basically calling people stupid unless they agree with you. Yeah, that's not elitist at all. Thinking you know better than others so you should be able to make decisions for them is also extremely elitist.

Midwest Mom
Soldiers Grove, WI

If the Republican party is encouraging Utah to keep its current system, then do you think that the current system is really more representative of the people?

slc, ut

I can see why the Republicans want to keep the caucus, it take politics away from the local folks. My question is where were they when they gerrymandered Salt lake City to dilute its political base?

Uncle Gadianton
Salt Lake City, Utah

No system for selecting candidates is perfect. There is potential abuse of power in both the caucus system and the direct primary system advocated by the Count My Vote drive.

The caucus meetings are only one step in the process. Neighborhood "town hall" meetings select delegates that represent the precinct at the state convention. If a person is unable to attend the actual caucus meeting, he or she can still contact the delegate to discuss issues. Delegates should reach out to citizens to get input. A direct primary severs that connection to the grass roots citizenry in the candidate selection process. The caucus system thus serves as a check on the primary system, if citizens are directly involved.

However, the caucus system itself needs checks and balances. There is potential for a "runaway" convention dominated by special interests or extreme elements that do not adequately represent the "rank and file" party members and voters. A check on this potential abuse is to increase the number of delegates needed to avoid a primary. Citizens would then be able to select their nominee. This balance is best for the parties, the state, and its citizens.

Kaysville, UT

The caucus system only supports the right wing zealots of the party. This chases off those truly in the middle that want to participate in the process. Hatch was successful in fighting off the right wing but he was the only one in recent times. had we a primary system in place Utah would have true representation and lee would never have been elected. It is time for change! It is time to shut down the right wing zealots!

Salt Lake City, UT

The caucuses assure the power of political parties. You have to register in one, or at very least participate in one of their meetings, to be part of the system. My participation over 30 years makes me very cynical about the value of giving them all the power. Do away with the caucuses to assure that power stays in the hands of the people. Congress is broken now because of parties that are too extreme and too powerful.

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