Comments about ‘Robert Bennett: Caucuses overshadow the elections, Count My Vote aims to empower voters’

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Published: Monday, Feb. 3 2014 12:00 a.m. MST

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Utah_1
Salt Lake City, UT

When Utah tried a direct primary in 1937 to 1947, it came with a run off primary, so the majority would elect the nominee. When the voting turn out and the cost drove the public and the media to reject that system - a compromise, caucus/convention and run off primary was created. We have that today. Count My Vote not only removes the nominating for general elections using delegates, it removes the run off primary system we have and nominees will no longer be selected out of a 2 person race.

They claim more people will be able to vote. A large percentage of voters will not affiliate to vote in the GOP primary election and those same people will not be able to vote in a "GOP" direct primary under Count My Vote. They will get to pay more as Count My Vote makes sure the parties will not be picking up the tab they currently do, it will be the taxpayers, unaffiliated or not.

Utah_1
Salt Lake City, UT

The "bill" Count My Vote, or proposed law is flawed, terribly so. Even some of the strongest supporters admit the legislature will have to fix it if this mess passes.

We tell public officials to kill these kind of errors in committee, not skip the public hearing, not read the bill and vote to send it to the floor of the legislature to decide if it should pass or not.

That is exactly what Count My Vote is telling people to do. Sign it, unread, and hope everyone realizes next fall it doesn't deliver. They could have amended it but chose not to and by law, can no longer amend the "bill".

This proposed law will cost taxpayers millions, $1 Million the first year and almost that every 2 years, with about 1/2 of the unfunded mandate being picked up by the less populous counties, the ones that the same proposed law will cause to be flyover places where the candidates and elected officials won't come anymore.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Bob Bennett thinks that HE and his cronies should pick the candidates. He thinks that the citizens are just in the way. He thinks that HE and his cronies should have the right to force us to accept their candidates for office. He thinks that HE and his cronies should do the thinking and that of the rest of us should sit back and cheer that we are so blessed to have such kindly dictators leading the Republican Party.

No wonder Bob Bennett was defeated. He does not understand the most basic concept of a Democratic Republic where the people elect representatives. That process starts with a caucus where the PEOPLE, not the PARTY, vet the candidates. The PEOPLE select delegates whose job it is to talk to each candidate, whether that candidate is the popular choice of the Republican Party, or whether that candidate is unknown. The delegate votes for the BEST candidate. Candidates are not appointed by the Republican elite.

Bob Bennett would have a multi-candidate primary where the "winner" would have less than 50% of the votes cast. The people of Utah rejected Bob Bennett. It's time they rejected cronyism entirely.

Constitutionalist
South Jordan, UT

As I read Bob's opinion, I realize how, by overlooking the obvious, you can make a good thing sound bad.

Bob is right on one thing: Attending your caucus meeting and casting your vote there might be more important than voting later in the Primary. Unfortunately, he makes it sound like only 1% of Utahns are allowed to attend their caucus meeting, when that is simply not true. Every Utahn is invited to attend their caucus meeting, so EVERY Utahn gets to cast a vote on Caucus night.

With the caucus system, we get to put our trust in a few of our neighbors to thoroughly vet the candidates and choose for us the best ones for us to vote on later.

Without the caucus system, most of us never get to really vet the candidates, instead relying on the pretty glossy mailers they send out, and on whatever spin the news media sends our way, to determine who to vote for. As a result, we get partial or often bad information, then cast our vote mostly in ignorance.

Please, please, do not support "Count My Vote". Allow us to select wise neighbors to do thi thorough vetting.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

The caucus system removes the voter even further from the elected official and should therefore be scrapped.

The caucus system does not allow the individual voter's support for a number of candidates to be expressed. The delegate votes for a number of candidates, only some of which the individual voters/caucus attendees may support. The individual voter is therefore not truly represented and the system should be scrapped.

Those who say the caucus allows underfunded candidates to be viable should read what hatch had to spend before the convention was even held. They should also consider whether or not an underfunded candidate is truly viable in the general election. That defense of the caucus system is flawed.

Those who harken back to depression-era elections should look at the advances in technology and how information is spread before touting elections held 80 years ago as an example of what will happen now.

J Thompson
SPRINGVILLE, UT

No wonder there are so many who want to do away with the caucus system. They don't know a thing about it. Some are even so ill-informed that they think that they go to a caucus to support a candidate. Talk about putting the cart before the horse!

At a caucus meeting, registered Republicans meet to select delegates who will interview from the pool of all those who want to run as Republicans, those who most closely follow the Republican platform and those who most closely represent the mind and will of the Republicans attending the caucus meeting. Every registered Republican in a precinct is allowed to attend. No attendee is promised that HIS ideas will be accepted by the other Republicans and no attendee is promised that he will even be listened to if he starts to promote a candidate. A caucus is not the time nor the place to campaign for a candidate. It is the time and place to select unbiased Republicans who will talk to ALL of the candidates.

Bob Bennett, we don't need the party elite to think for us.

DOSLC
slc, UT

Oh, grow up. There are so many reasons to pass CMV I don't know where to start. 1937? Really? Send me a telegram with more details. Here are three quick reasons to sign the petition and vote for CMV: On the way home from your caucus you get in a car wreck and go to the ER. None of the nurses, docs, EMTs, or regular hospital employees who care for you will have been able to vote because they were on shift. Or, your home gets broken into while you're at your caucus. The police officers who respond to your call didn't get a vote - they were busy trying to serve and protect. Oh, your home caught fire? Sorry Mr. Fireman. And while you are out enjoying the freedom to exercise your right to vote? The men and women who serve this Nation in uniform protecting that freedom will have been excluded from sharing with you that precious right.

There are plenty more reasons where those come from, but that's a start. And frankly, all of you shouting your lungs out to keep those people from voting disrespect the safety and freedom they provide. Shame on you.

Fitness Freak
Salt Lake City, UT

People come on this forum (and others)all the time and complain about "cronyism", "big money taking over politics", etc. Well, if you want that to continue you probably should support the "buy my vote" effort - because its name says it quite well.

I go to the caucuses. I don't always get my way. So what? AT LEAST my voice gets heard. Hearing my neighbors positions on issues is far more important to me that hearing 30 second sound bites, or getting thousands of pieces of junk mail (that don't REALLY say anything about the candidates positions anyway).

Its' simple; if you like a "power broker" type of primary, by all means support the "buy my vote" folks. If you like to think independently of the power brokers; vote to stay with the caucus system!

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

DOSLC,

Why not just let Obama select the candidates? He's a "person in power". He knows what's best for America. He knows that the Constitution means, even if what it "means" is directly opposite to what it says. He's been in office. He knows the "requirements" necessary to succeed, i.e., to agree with him no matter the issue, no matter the will of the people.

Outlandish, you say? How. What is the difference between the Republican Party "elite" who want to choose our candidates for us and Obama? None of them believe in a Democratic Republic. None of them believe in "representation". All of them believe that "they" and they alone have the answers. It's just a matter of degree between Obama and those who are promoting "Count My Vote". They want to ensure the outcome regardless of the will of the people. They are power hungry. They all have "Potomac Fever". None of them have any use for the citizens.

Allowing proxy votes to be cast would take away all of your "objections" about those who could not attend a caucus, but that would be too simple, when the "elite" want total control.

VST
Bountiful, UT

@DOSLC,

Are you a registered Republican. If not, I will not even bother to offer a comment.

Fred44
Salt Lake City, Utah

Let the people vote on whether they want a caucus system or not isn't that the American way? The so called "power brokers" use the caucus system to bully their way or the way forward for their candidate. The caucus system was a great method for its time, its time is long since passed.

The people opposing Count My Vote are either afraid of losing their power or they think the voters of Utah are not smart enough to make the right choice at the ballot box.

DOSLC
slc, UT

Re. VST, et. al - Please notice not a single responder has even tried to deny or answer my assertions. How 'bout you all run down to your local police or fire station to tell them personally they don't merit a vote. Send a note to the troops and copy the folks in the ER. Tell me, Mike, did you compare me to Obama because Hitler was taken? And that passes for argument? Let me get this straight - everyone having a vote undermines "the will of the people"? Sad. I just want you all to keep talking - it makes Count My Vote's case for them.

Here's the thing: the arguments for and against CMV are the SAME! They just think exclusion is a positive. As for charges of "elitism," I think that's called "transference." The "elitists" want everyone to have an equal vote? Do you have a dictionary handy? Welcome to Bizarro World.

And for the record, yes I am a registered Republican and likely a lot more involved than most of you. Please, keep talking...

DOSLC
slc, UT

And while you're at it, take a minute to go to Wikipedia and look up "Politburo." It will look and sound familiar to you…I guess you'll think in a good way.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

I support Count My Vote, but there's a flaw in it. We need a runoff election, because some nut could get 20% of the Republican primary vote and then win the whole enchilada. (Kind of the way it is now.)

Vanceone
Provo, UT

DOSLC: So I'm on my way to the precinct to cast my gate when I get in a wreck... go to the hospital, and miss casting my vote. The firefighters who pull me out of the wreck are not casting their vote either.

Same problem, except now we have government elites selecting our candidates, which of course is the real goal, openly admitted by them. No thanks.

VST
Bountiful, UT

@DOSLC,

Well you seem to have a lot of pent-up emotion about this subject, since it took you too long paragraphs (which I really don’t care about) to finally answer my original question.

Since you say you are a Republican, then here is the bottom line on how you can go about changing or eliminating the caucus system:

You will not change anything by ranting and raving on about the current system – most Republicans (like me) will ignore you. But if you are willing to become actively involved, you can effect change, even within the caucus itself. Become one of the District or Legislative level leaders and progress to the point where you “have the ear” of the respective Central Committees either at the County level, or better yet, at the State level. That is where the rules of party government are changed, but ONLY if you can capture support among other leaders of the party who have rule voting powers.

Work within the party, not outside of it.

As for CMV, it will likely fail even the petition makes it to the ballot. Why? Because the organizers are attempting to work outside the party. Not within it.

JenicaJessen
Riverton, UT

How's this for a compromise? Instead of repeating the endless arguments about what happened in 1937 and how much it costs to run for office, let's put the question to the people. This fall, let VOTERS decide how they want their elections to be structured...

Oh, wait, I forgot. If the general public isn't intelligent enough to pick their own candidates, they definitely aren't capable of choosing their own electoral system. My mistake.

merich39
Salt Lake City, UT

I become a stronger and stronger supporter of CMV every time I hear caucus supporters make a statement that "the caucus system is necessary in order to keep the all important GOP candidate selection in the hands of those who are genuinely knowledgeable and out of the voting reach of the uneducated masses".

My impression of caucus supporters is that they realize that precinct delegates have a hugely disproportionate influence on the election and they seek to keep it that way. In a state like Utah where one party wins 90% of the general elections, the caucus pretty much decides the election. For those who control the caucuses, I can understand their reluctance to give up that kind of political influence. However, I have much more faith in the general voting population than do these caucus supporting elitists.

Count My Vote now!

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

What's wrong with Democracy?

What's wrong with letting we the people decide?

Why do those who scream about the Constitution so much are fine with a system which destroys our Democracy? Why are we ok with letting "delegates" vote for us?

Give us freedom! Let us decide! No taxation without representation! Delegates don't represent us. They represent those who bribed them the most.

Maxter
Lehi, UT

When I first learned about our caucus system in Utah, it seemed initially odd to elect people to elect other people. But as I got more involved and eventually got elected as a state delegate, my eyes were opened more and more to the advantages of the caucus system.

In 2012, as a state delegate, I spent over 50 hours listening to, meeting with and researching candidates. I had never before spent so much time for a vote. But I felt it was important because I was voting on behalf of my whole precinct. I would dare say 99% of voters do not do this level of research, nor would they have the level of access to candidates to ask the deep probing questions that don't get answered on mailer slicks or 30 second TV spots.

I don't believe average voters are too stupid or don't care enough, most just simply don't have the time to do the level of research and meetings that a delegate is asked to do. It's easy to discount the value of your own vote, but a delegate has a duty to do the research.

cont...

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