Jenica,Congratulations on your desire to be involved citizen.
Continue to work to make the changes that you see fit. I for one am a supporter
of Count My Vote. My reasons for support are many. At the same time I will
agree to disagree with those who attack the Count My Vote Movement by implying
that you as youthful voter, or me as a public school teacher are not well
informed or able to make a reasonable choice of candidates. I will however say
that Mr. Mero and others have the right to say what they say, and in my humble
opinion help make a stronger case for the need for Count My Vote. Keep the
faith, keep learning and hopefully some day I will have an opportunity to cast a
vote for you in a primary election.
Mike Richards-- Mike Lee may be one of the most popular examples used in the
caucus system debate, but he is by no means the only Utah official whose process
of getting elected involved the caucus system. The offices aren't
"conferred" every time, but it still happens too often for complacency.
In 2012, not a single member of Utah's congressional delegation faced a
primary. Gary Herbert, Jason Chaffetz, Rob Bishop, and Chris Stewart all skipped
the primary elections and faced non-competitive generals. (And Utah 1, three of
those four were incumbents.) In effect, all of them had the seats handed to them
in the caucus conventions. It disturbs me that our system allows that to happen
at all-- regardless of their political affiliation or ideology, they still
should have been held accountable to the people as a whole. They were not.
I was there. I though several of Mr. Mero's comments were out of line.That said, LaVarr Webb, one of the big supporters of Count My Vote said
this, prior to launching the poorly drafted proposed law:"Fair.
A system that provides inherent advantages to those who are incumbent, wealthy
or famous is not acceptable." They later dropped that principle
and admitted that our current system has it."The current
caucus/convention nominating process has many excellent qualities that we wish
to retain. The system allows candidates who lack fame, wealth, and incumbency to
compete for a party’s nomination. We also appreciate the valuable
grassroots nature of the process, with neighbors gathering to discuss political
issues and candidates. "We have a system that does NOT favor the
incumbent, wealthy or famous. This is a good thing. Keep Fair Elections in Utah,
don't sign Count My Vote / Buy My Vote.
The Sutherland Institute works tirelessly to attack those who might have views
outside of their tiny little scope. The Sutherland Institute is nothing more
than another arm for corporate America. They talk about promoting freedom. In
reality, their actions only promote servitude and slavery for the middle and
JenicaJessen, in your 2:26 p.m. post on January 17 you seemed to imply that
elected office is "conferred". That simply is not true. The results of
the 1st round of voting in the nominating convention, Mike Lee: 982 votes, Tim
Bridgewater: 917 votes and Robert Bennett: 885 votes from the delegates whom we
selected to represent us in our caucus meetings. In the 2nd round, Tim
Bridgewater: 1,274, Mike Lee: 1,225 and Robert Bennett was eliminated when he
received 905 votes. In the 3rd round, Tim Bridgewater: 1,854 votes to Mike
Lee's 1,383 votes. In the Primary election, Mike Lee received 98,512 votes
to Tim Bridgewater's 93,905 votes. The process started at the
caucus and continued until Mike Lee received 61% of the votes in the General
Election. Republican citizens selected delegates who elected Tim
Bridgewater and Mike Lee. Republican citizens elected Mike Lee in the Primary.
Citizens from all parties elected Mike Lee in the General Election. Party
leaders did not select the Republican candidates. Other parties did not select
Republican candidates. Republican delegates elected by registered Republicans
elected the Republican candidates.
@Mike Richards and 2 bits. The problem with the republican caucuses is that you
can not compete with the extremist. If you go to a republican caucus you
vilified for even having moderate views. I know you guys would suggest I get
more moderate republicans to attend but the truth is people get turned off by
people who spread blatant lies and half truths.Also, when you have a
conversation with these republican extremist they try to tell you are ill
informed and that you are believing the "liberal media." I for one do
not like being insulted like this and I am tired of it. I know many other people
who feel this way.Is the count my vote initiative the answer? Maybe
not but the caucus system could be a lot better.
@Schnee, Yes, the Virginia GOP did do precisely what you said in
last year's state races, and they nominated a set of extremists who
couldn't win in the general state election. There was a lot of pushback
from the electorate because of that decision, and it backfired in November. I
would hope that's an instructive lesson to those who favor the caucus
approach because it nominates the "ideologically pure."
What he said was a huge generalization. Generalizations arent' 100%
correct. But for some teenagers it fits (and some adults).You are
probably on the far edge of the informed spectrum for teenagers, but there are
teenagers who only know what they heard on AM radio, from the Sutherland
Institute, or glossy advertising and propaganda funded by anonymous sources.I would agree with turning the party nomination process into a
popularity contest IF we could get even 25% turn out at a Party Primary. But so
often the candidates ridiculous.I think the caucus system has some
problems, but a Primary does too. It's not neccessarily an improvement if
the majority of those end up voting what the party recommended, or the name they
recognise, or the candidate with the best profile picture, or the candidate had
the best smear campaign such as John Swallow.The Primary is NOT an
attempt to keep you out of politics. It's an attempt to get people with
brains MORE involved in politics (by independently examining candidates and then
picking the most qualified in the group without being stymied in their choice
by activists at the Convention).
Owen -- that was a wonderful post. Thank you. You nailed it.
I believe we need to move from a caucus to a primary system because too many
people are pushed out of selecting the best candidate for the election. I think
the argument about the risk of too many uninformed voters wind up making the
decision in a primary is pretty disingenuous when we are also whining about a
2004 vote being overturned.
@JenicaJessen"Utah is the only state in the nation where a candidate
for public office can bypass a primary election entirely-- which happens
regularly. "Not necessarily. For 2013 Republicans in Virginia
nominated their Governor, Lt. Gov. and AG candidates via a convention (I think
that might've been a change from the norm for them to do it that way).
Democrats in Virginia nominated theirs via a primary.
2bits: With or without caucus meetings, I can (and am planning to) vote in all
the primary and general elections. (I've only been able to vote in
municipal elections so far because during the last primary and general
election-- 2012-- I was 17.)But the caucuses and conventions are
where all the real decisions are made. Utah is the only state in the nation
where a candidate for public office can bypass a primary election entirely--
which happens regularly. And as has already been pointed out, in a general
election the Republican usually wins by default. (Not with every candidate and
not in every district, no, but quite often.) This means that the office can be
conferred upon the party favorite without any input from the general voting
public. So yes, you're right, I can and will vote in the
primaries and generals-- but in some cases, it doesn't even matter. THAT is
why I'm so focused on the caucus system.
Mero is so far right, Mike Lee is to his left. Extremists should never be
counted on for any policy/protocol/opinion that affects normal people.
2bits,"With or without caucus meetings... you get to vote in the party
primary."Not True.... you can only vote in the primaries of the
GOP is if you are a registered republicans. If you are independent, you can not
"voice" an opinion of vote in the GOP caucuses.
The Sutherland institure and many conservative organizations continuously try to
narrow the voting blocs by coming up with weak excuses like "uniformed
voters". They see the trends and the only way they hold on to power is to
limit the vote. You stay involved, America needs more kids like you!!
Irony,Again... nobody's taking away your right to vote.With or without caucus meetings... you get to vote in the party primary.With or without caucus meetings... you get to vote in the general
election.----If we don't narrow the field for the
party primary... there is no chance ANY candidate will come out of the Primary
with a majority vote.Without a majority of his OWN party supporting
him... his opponent will use that against him in the general election and point
out that not even a majority of his OWN party supported him... so how can a
majority of both parties support him?We must narrow it to the top-2
candidates for the primary. Otherwise if there are even 2 people on the ballot
with similar positions... half vote for each... and the guy with outlier
position actually wins... do you WANT that?The convention is just a
way to find the top-2 candidates for the Party Primary.IF
you're not in the top-2 (like Bennett) run as independent in the general
Here is the rub with the caucus system that I think Jennica is talking
about..She went to BOTH party caucus meetings, which to my
understanding is that she is independent.In the GOP caucuses they
have "closed" elections (Democratic are open), so the only way for an
independent who may or may not lean right has no way of voting for someone in
the primaries without "joining" the party.Count my Vote
makes it so that independents can vote in primaries, thus the new system would
work for those of us who refuse to join a party.
My first vote at age 18 was precious to me. I felt a new sense of citizenship. I
informed myself carefully. I remember long, deep conversations with people. I
think I may have cared more then than I do now. Mr. Mero's arrogant
dismissal of the young voter is breathtaking. And people give this man money?
Jenica,You are not marginalised. You get to vote twice in every election.
Once in the Party Primary, and a again in the General Election. Have you been taking advantage of THOSE opportunities (voting in every Party
Primary). If not... what can I say?You seem to be only focused on
ONE thing...getting rid of caucus meetings. They don't do away with your
right to vote. Both parties (Democrat and Republican) already have a Party
Primary Election (a few months ahead of the General Election). Have you been
voting in them consistently? If you have... you are one of the less than 15%
that turned out to vote in the party primaries last August. If not... you are
marginalising yourself (which at least 85% of the population is currently
doing).===Caucuses don't prevent you from voting.
We marginalise ourselvs when we don't show up to the party primary!YOU get to vote (in your party primary).YOU get to vote
again (in the general election).85% of us are marginalising ourselvs
by not showing up to the existing Party Primary elections!Why would
that % change by just doing away with caucus meetings??
You are theoretically correct, when you reach the legal age as defined by law
you are capable of making intelligent decisions. In reality, uninformed or
irresponsible voters have been a continuing concern from the early days of our
republic. Hence some political offices initially were not by direct election.
Let's hope that your level of involvement and information will extend to
young and old voters alike. An informed electorate is the goal and we have far
2bits, I know neither system is perfect. A perfect system isn't possible.
But I definitely prefer a direct primary, because while it won't eliminate
the problems of poorly informed and low-participating voters, it at least gives
them a chance to improve.Noodlekaboodle: Along with what 2bits said,
I'd like to point out changing the system would allow more party diversity.
Direct primaries would let parties endorse candidates, but not keep them off the
ballot. With a little work, anyone could get on the ballot regardless of
ideology or party.MikeRichards, I thought it would be difficult to be more
condescendingly prejudiced than Meros, but I guess I was wrong. I do not support
Count My Vote because I’m inexperienced and want someone to explain my
rights to me. I do NOT support Count My Vote because I want a "father
figure" to "worship." I am not desperately seeking the approval of
anyone older than me. I-- and my peers-- are seeking the approval of people we
respect, and we're seeking respect from others in Utah's political
community regardless of our age. Clearly we're not going to get it from
I have in fact noticed my level of involvement is something of an aberration.
But it would be among older adults, too. Not everyone is well-informed, and
that's true regardless of age. Young people are not less involved than
older people; my generation has one of the highest levels of community
involvement and volunteerism in history. The reason that Millenials'
participation in politics is low is because they don't want to waste their
time on a system they feel they can't affect and doesn't represent
them. To me, that sounds like a problem with the system, not the youth.About uninformed people: Churchill said "The best argument against
democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." He also
said "Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others
that have been tried." Yes, I'll admit there are poorly-informed
people-- but that doesn't mean they should be marginalized. The price of a
free democracy is that stupid and intelligent people alike are given the same
rights, and if we can't handle that fact we should switch to an oligarchy.
Mero wears the narrowest of blinders, to the point that he can only focus on one
tiny dot, then he believes the entire world should only look at the tiny dot
he's focused on. If anyone is clueless, it's Mero and his ilk.
The problem with the caucus is that if you aren't available at one specific
time on one specific day you're out of luck. Working that evening? Too bad.
Night classes? Too bad. A primary at least gives the flexibility of voting
before or after work.
Whiners always tell us that the "system" is at fault, when the problem
is that the "system" works, but doesn't work the way that the
whiners wanted it to work. Case in point: Mike Lee. Utah has two major
political parties. Both parties are free to establish rules for the selection
of candidates. Neither party can dictate rules to the other party. Some people
find that offensive. They would level the playing field by requiring that all
candidates accept their own party's platform. The Republicans decided to
allow members of the Republican party vote for delegates to talk with each
candidate and determine which candidate most closely represented their precinct.
That infuriated Bob Bennett's supporters who wanted to crown Bob Bennett
without an election. That infuriated those who didn't bother to go to
their caucus meeting. That infuriated those who went but who couldn't sway
the vote.The delegates talked to the candidates and Mike Lee was one
candidate selected. In the Primary, Mike Lee won 51.2% of the votes. Whiners
tell us that the system failed. The system worked for everyone except the
Noodlekaboodle,Your whining is well taken. But I don't know if
it's as justified as you think. If any Republican always wins... How do
you explain Jim Matheson's success? I explain it by him not
being a radical Democrat, and knowing what Utahns want. (Something Democrats
may want to consider when replacing him in the future).Run more
candidates that are more in tune with what Utahns want... and they will get
elected.But keep running radicals, pro-abortion activists, prople
who support anything the DNC wants them to do candidates... and I predict most
Utahns will continue to not want them. And they have a right to not want
them.Utahns have a right to vote for who we want to vote for.
It's not our fault if Democrats keep running canidates who's positions
are offensive to most Utahns. Hint... that's NOT how you win elections.IF more Democrats would vocally seperate from some of the DNC's
central planks (like Matheson did)... and focus on what UTAHNS want... I think
they would win more elections in Utah. It's not our fault
Democrats keep running people who disagree with most Utahns!
Well, I don't really care either way. It seems to me unless I lie and
pretend i'm a republican my vote doesn't really county anyways. By the
time the republicans have decided their candidates the election is already over
in all but a couple races. So what difference does it make to non registered
republicans how the ruling party chooses their candidates?
What he said was a huge generalization. Generalizations arent' 100%
correct. But for some teenagers it fits (and some adults). You
are probably on the far edge of the informed spectrum for teenagers, but there
are teenagers who only know what they heard on TV, FaceBook or Twitter (glossy
advertising and propaganda).I would agree with turning the party
nomination process into a popularity contest IF we could get even 25% turn out
at a Party Primary. Not even close. And that includes all ages.I
think the caucus system has some problems, but a Primary does too. It's
not neccessarily an improvement if... only 6-10% turn out... the majority of
those end up voting what the news paper or TV recommended, or the name they
recognise, or the candidate with the best profile picture, or the candidate had
the best smear campaign.The Caucus is not an attempt to keep you out
of politics. It's an attempt to get people MORE involved in politics (by
meeting and discussing politics and candidates with their neighbors and picking
the most informed in the group to represent their group at the Convention).It's not perfect... but it's not all bad either.
Mero discussing Count My Vote on the radio: "Whether x percent participate
in a primary, or x percent participate in a general, it doesn’t bother me.
What bothers me are ignorant people. That’s what bothers me. Ignorant
people making decisions on my behalf.”This is exactly the
frustration that birthed the initiative Mero is fighting -- conventions and
elections controlled by ignorant people -- consumers of one shallow media
puddle, low-information talk-radio audiences. By definition, ignorant people
have made decisions on behalf of the rest of us. We got Mike Lee as a result.
And it bothers us.
Be careful Jenica. This is Utah and you could be jailed for being a woman and
having your own thoughts rather than letting the men do all your thinking for
What does the writer mean by "fair election"? Does he mean that the
candidates will be chosen by the party elite, behind closed doors, or does he
mean by the voice of the delegates elected by the citizens in their caucuses
where the citizens decide the issues that are important for that precinct and
then assign "electors" from among themselves to "vet" the
candidates. Which example follows the principles set forth in a Democratic
Republic and which principles smack of royalty where the "king" tells us
what we need and provides "candidates" that meet HIS qualifications?Youth are easily swayed, not because they are "stupid" but
because they don't have a lot of experience in knowing that every
"father figure" shouldn't be worshipped. Look at what the
"Count My Vote" people did; they signed on every "father figure"
that they could find. Was it just happenstance that those "father
figures" were also the party elite? Just like any elite, they want our
votes, they want our tax dollars, but they know that if given a choice, we
won't vote for "their" candidate - so they'll choose for us.