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Comments about ‘Battle over caucus and convention system heats up’

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Published: Monday, Oct. 28 2013 6:36 p.m. MDT

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Utah_1
Salt Lake City, UT

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? in 1946, after almost 10 years of a direct primary with run off, the media and public demanded the return of the Caucus and Convention System to replace the need for a run off election.

Even the Deseret News in 1946 was specific that they didn't want to just eliminate the run off, as that would turn the power over to money. They wanted that every day people would vote at local meetings

Utah_1
Salt Lake City, UT

As you know from 2008 to 2010 neighborhood election meeting attendance doubled. From 2010 to 2012, meeting attendance doubled again. There is hope that in 2014, it will double again and 250,000 will attend. I know that The State GOP has a committee that is working to make sure we don't have the same growth problems for 2014 and that the system can handle the volume of those interested and still allow time to meet candidates and ask questions.

New proposals for 2014 include a better system for check in, including optional preregistration. The ability to optionally pre-file to run to represent your neighbors as well. The meeting will be designed to last for 2 hrs. or less, from 7pm to 9pm. There will be a pre-meeting from 6pm to 7pm to allow you to personally meet candidates to represent your neighborhood that have decided to run and for you to ask one on one questions. Even with large groups, changes to make sure members can agree on questions to ask neighborhood representative candidates with more time to hear from them.

I hope you will come again in 2014 and make the meeting better.

Oldcoach
Hurricane, 00

I'll never go to another neighborhood caucus. I went to one and tried to lobby for a more centrist candidate and was shouted out of the meeting. Only old guard, and I do mean OLD white men were sent to the convention. They all favored tea party candidates. Never again! I will sign any petition that does away with that dead horse method of choosing candidates.

VAggie
Bristow, United States

We should stop using numbers from the 1930s and 40s to argue against primaries. It is bad logic. In recent numbers states with caucuses and larger populations have lower turnout than states with smaller populations and primaries. Caucuses violate the norm of secret ballot. Also caucuses are designed to be restrictive. Even with changes people don't have the time to spend along time waiting and go through the process. We have technology that it can take me 5-10 mins to vote. We should use it.

On the other hand
Riverdale, MD

In the caucus system, a lucky few get an actual say regarding whose names will appear on the ballot. Everybody else can state their opinion but any influence they might have on the actual outcome of the election is indirect to nonexistent. Look, picking representatives to pick representatives is what they do in Communist China. Utah can do better than that.

DVD
Taylorsville, 00

A primary that is more open to members of the concerned political party is more representative than one that is closed by circumstance (time, location, other reasons) to most of them.

one vote
Salt Lake City, UT

Support count out the tea party radical movement. They have caused too much damage already with the shutdown tantrum.

Utah_1
Salt Lake City, UT

Whether you like Sen. Mike Lee or not you should consider the following. The delegates almost eliminated him at convention.

re: Sen. Bennett in 2010. He was not in the top 2 coming out of convention. In fact the more moderate of the two, Tim Bridgewater was selected by 57% of the delegates in the last round of voting by the delegates. If he had received 60% Tim Bridgewater would have been the party nominee and Mike Lee would have been eliminated.

Sen. Bennett endorsed Tim Bridgewater during the primary, but with voters ticked at TARP and ObamaCare, they went with Mike Lee.

Sen. Mike Lee was the party nominee after the primary

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

RedShirtCalTech
Pasedena, CA

To "Oldcoach" you sound quite bitter about not having your minority vote represented in the final outcome of the caucus meeting. What you don't realize or have forgotten is that the caucus system is not designed to put the minority position out in front. It is designed to get representatives selected that most closely represent the will of the people.

If you don't feel that you were included, you should work towards being known by the caucus committies and by the "old guard" that has been showing up for years. It is obvious why you had difficulty when you showed up. You were an unknown with an adgenda to impose your will on the people in your area. Now, if you worked to be known, and get a reputation among your neighbors as having some valid points, you probably could influence people more than you did.

However, what you saw was the precise reason why we have the caucus meetings. It is the will of the people that decide who the canidates are, not money.

lemonade1
Davis, UT

Some facts to consider:

In a direct primary, candidates would rely primarily on expensive mailers and 30 second radio and television sound bites to get their message to voters. Our current system is very effective at allowing delegates to actually get to know the candidates; not just hear short sound bites about them.

If we were to change to a direct primary, candidates would be incentivized to raise money for these media buys and expensive campaigns which means they would spend more time with potential large donors and special interests rather than with average Utah voters. Our current system is accessible to all candidates, not just the wealthy and well-connected.

Also, with a direct primary, candidates would only need to focus on the major population areas of the state to get the votes they need creating unnoticed counties in our rural areas. Our current system gives rural Utah a voice.

jsf
Centerville, UT

one vote You best be aware of the Tea Party movement, Today a Rasmusson pole shows 42% of voters align with Obama, 42% align with the Tea Party. Leaving 16% undecided. For a radical movement it has a serious influence on the way things are going. Don't be so quick to dismiss. I will admit the numbers dropped from an earlier pole that had the percentages of Tea Party at 48% vs Obama at 46%.

VST
Bountiful, UT

@Utah_1

You can also add the following statistic to your list of Mike Lee’s Primary campaign close calls:

In that 2010 Primary Election, Lee won by just 51% of the vote – a mere 2% margin. That is NOT a ringing endorsement from Utah Republican voters as a whole.

citi1
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I have been to the neighborhood caucuses and was elected as a county delegate. I have attended two county conventions and I am in favor of dropping the caucus system. I think every vote should be counted. I keep hearing that the delegates represent the will of the people that voted them in. In the end, I was free to vote how I wished as a delegate and was under no obligation to vote how the rest of my neighborhood saw fit. The only thing I like about the caucus system is that I really got a chance to know the candidates, thus making sure that those that seemed radical or too far right, did not make it to the primary. However, I was offended more than once at the convention with those who voted based upon religious credentials. I was also offended at the efforts of some to try to insert their idea of morality into the Republican party.

VAggie
Bristow, United States

Absolutely false redshirt,

The caucus system is designed take radical fringe positions and put then in to policy. Not very many people can make the argument that indirect representation of the people is more representative than direct representation

RedShirtMIT
Cambridge, MA

To "VAggie" prove it. How does forcing the canidates explain themselves and justify their position to many canidates allow a fringe element to take hold? The only way a fringe position could be put into policy would be if a majority of people in an area supported that policy. But, if a majority of people support an idea it is no longer fringe, but is the mainstream idea of the group.

Nobody ever said that indrect representation is more representative than direct representation. Who said that? I stated that with the caucus system politicians have to actually connect with the representatives and not just spend a lot of money on name recognition advertisements.

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