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Comments about ‘Election initiative, legislative bill each draw strong reaction’

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Published: Friday, Feb. 14 2014 8:05 p.m. MST

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Linus
Bountiful, UT

"The people are speaking and they want a direct primary," McKeown said.

I am part of "the people," and I don't want a direct primary! Those who want a direct primary are the established career politicians and the well-heeled fat cats that can afford intense TV advertising.

A direct primary will harvest the votes of the easily swayed, ill informed, and uninvolved voters who love to get on board the bandwagon. Everybody loves a winner, so ill-informed voters are swept up and taken in. The caucus/convention method of candidate selection forces candidates, rich or poor, to confront real issues and real voters face to face. The people want a citizen government; not career politicians who want to be insulated from accountability starting at their nomination.

JenicaJessen
Riverton, UT

I never thought the day would come when our state legislature got so scared of the will of the people that it prevented them from deciding on an issue through their votes.

Bramble claims that he's not defying the voice of the people because the people haven't had a chance to speak in an election yet. And he's right. He isn't defying the voice of the people, he's deciding that whatever they say he will ignore it. Nullifying an initiative before it even hits the ballot is little better than silencing the petitioners directly.

The reasoning behind this bill is a disgrace. If you don't like the initiative, convince the people directly instead of deciding beforehand you will ignore their decisions. Bramble would do well to remember that at the end of the day, those people are the ones he has to answer to- or at least, they would be in a decent electoral system.

stevo123
slc, ut

There is a very entrenched portion of the party that greatly fears CMV, What are you afraid of Mr. Bramble?

liberty or ...?
Ogden, UT

@ JenicaJessen and steve123.your answer is because the CMV does not represent "THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE" I get so sick of this blanket ingnorance. Anyone who has done there homework on this issue knows that the devil is in the details and it does the exact opposite of what it says it will. True it gives you a primary but anyone who has watched election campaigns knows this basically only gives you the power to choose from the candidates those with biggest pockets endorse. It becomes a sound bite media blitz campaign and the one who has the biggest checkbook has the advantage. Look at the sponsors supporting this bill. Corporations, Unions, special interest groups, big money and established politicians. Your Caucuss system is in place for this reason to elect representatives YOU THE PEOPLE choose at your Caucuss all you have to do is show up. You choose a rep to do the homework and vet these guys and it helps eliminates bad and corrupt candidates. CMV has been voted down already twice and was tried in the state before. The results were corruption, fraud, and entrenched beauracracy and corporate cronyism.

MDurfee
OREM, UT

I have gone to many neighborhood caucus meetings. The public seems to think they aren't very important, and as a result the meetings are very often poorly attended. As a result one group of 10-15 people showing up with a common agenda can easily hijack the vote.
Thus it is possible that a few extremists can take over and get their friends elected as delegates. If people don't care enough to show up to the caucus, we could end up with some real kooks in office. A primary at least forces them to gain the favor of a larger group of voters.

Brad Peterson
South Ogden, UT

I work evenings. My problem is that I can't really vote.

This bill does nothing to change that. I still can't be a delegate, period. And I have no effective chance of absentee ballot voting because I will have almost zero information regarding the potential delegates prior. On caucus night, potential delegates announce their intentions, give a quick blurb about themselves, and people in the room vote. How does someone who works evenings get a chance in that?

Because this system disenfranchises me, I strongly oppose any system that continues to restrict my chances of voting. And I strongly disagree with anyone who tries to tell me that my inability to vote is needed to create a better system.

kiddsport
Fairview, UT

It always seemed to me the caucus system was not a voter friendly process, particularly if you were living remotely and had obligations committing your time, such as two jobs, a family, etc. It is more favorable to special interests who can underwrite participation by its members. Am I missing something?

Prodicus
Provo, UT

Linus, yes, there is a small fraction of "the people" who are happy with the present system- namely, the entrenched party "good old boy" network and those who grease their palms. If you support the present caucus system, either you fall into one of those two categories or you have been duped by them.

The clear majority in the polls have said they want to see reform that brings more primary elections and thus makes government accountable to the people again. I guess, however, that you're used to the idea that people who share your ideas deserve to override the majority, because the fact that they disagree with you eo ipso means they're "easily swayed, ill-informed, and uninvolved." They deserve to be disenfranchised so you and your "enlightened" pals can run the state.

JenicaJessen
Riverton, UT

"I get so sick of this blanket ingnorance.(sic)"

Liberty, I have to hand it to you, you and other caucus supporters are nothing if not consistent.
If the people are not intelligent enough to choose their own representatives, clearly they could never hope to be capable of choosing their own electoral system.

Fred44
Salt Lake City, Utah

It is so amusing to hear the anti Count My Vote People say it is the rich and elite that will benefit. Our current republican state legislators are scared to death of this initiative. Why because they currently have absolute control of this state. Count My Vote will lead to a state legislature that is more balanced, more willing to compromise, more reasonable and more willing to listen to the will of the many instead of the few.

Look at the leaders who support Count My Vote look at those who oppose it. On the integrity scale it isn't even close. Time for the Caucus to go the way of the Edsel.

VST
Bountiful, UT

If Count My Vote were to be implemented, then “money wins” – pure and simple. Even right now this CMV effort is being funded by big money interests.

If you support CMV, then surely you should understand that big money interests will have a better chance of controlling the outcome – that is not rocket science. It is a much better process if big money interests, with their “selected candidates,” have to earn votes one-by-one from elected neighborhood caucus delegates, rather than “buying” the election outright with well-funded sound bites over the media.

Furthermore, if you are not a registered Republican, you do NOT have a legal right participate in the caucus/convention/primary election process used to determine the final Republican nominee who will appear on the final November General Election Ballot. That is strictly a political party function.

Prodicus
Provo, UT

VST, as far as electoral spending goes, all it accomplishes to have our government selected by a thousandth of the voters is that candidates can spend a thousand times as much money per delegate as they could per general voter. Relatives of mine have been delegates to the state convention; they received huge amounts of targeted advertising, invitations to events with food, and scores of other attempts to buy their votes. This persisted for years after the conventions they were delegates for; candidates figure that past delegates are more likely to be delegates again in the future, so they concentrate their spending before conventions on past delegates.

You really think all this is "earned" while the votes of the general public are only "bought"?

To do so is to claim that caucus delegates are somehow perfectly rational beings who are immune to the influence of money, while the general public is composed of people with no mind of their own at all who vote only based on the frequency of advertisements they hear. This is not only absurd, it's extremely arrogant and elitist.

Dave Duncan
Orem, UT

You would be wrong to think that the current legislators are scared to death of CMV. No legislator is afraid of having to win a primary (with money given to them by influence-seeking lobbyists) against principled challengers that don't get much (or any) lobbyist money.

JenicaJessen
Riverton, UT

Prodicus: You're exactly right. Orrin Hatch spent almost five million dollars on the 2012 caucus. That was more than he spent on either the primary or the general elections. And magically enough, despite the caucus system's supposed hostility to 'incumbents' and the 'wealthy', he got elected again.

NO electoral system is immune from the effects of money. To claim otherwise is at best ignorance and at worst a lie. And if we have to choose between two imperfect systems in an imperfect world, I pick the one that actually gives the general public a voice.

Fred44
Salt Lake City, Utah

Dave,

Sorry but I am going to have to disagree. There are many state legislators who are very frightened of Count My Vote, because they will have to face ALL of the voters not just those hand picked in caucuses that have been voting them in for years.

VST
Bountiful, UT

@Prodicus,

Do you really think a delegate can be bought by food? Have any hard evidence that delegates were "bought" by huge sums of money? Please, do go on with your story.

I have personally been a delegate. Never was bribed – never accepted a bribe.

@JenicaJessen,

And here is another story that counters your story about Orrin Hatch. In 2008, Jason Chaffetz was NOT a well-known candidate when he first ran for Congress. He ran on a “shoe-string” budget. Under a CMV approach, Jason would have never made it out of the Convention to make the Primary Ballot against the incumbent, Chris Cannon, whom he defeated in the Primary. Well-funded David Leavitt (Mike Leavitt’s brother) would likely have been facing Chris Cannon instead of Jason.

That is what this is all about.

Prodicus
Provo, UT

@VST- neither did the general populace accept bribes. They heard an ad and decided they liked what they heard, while a delegate read a targeted mailing or heard a speech at an invite-only event (where quite likely food was served) and decided he liked what he heard. Why do you claim the former counts as "buying votes" while the latter does not?

You and other caucus delegates are likely to be neither more nor less influenced per penny of candidate spending than your fellow citizens, but candidates can afford to spend a thousand times as much on you.

Your feigned outrage is just a silly cover for the claim "I'm immune to the influence of money while all my neighbors are sheep."

Prodicus
Provo, UT

One more thing, VST- what I said above left out a vitally important detail- before caucus night, moneyed interests, including out-of-state interests like FreedomWorks (or, in other states, MoveOn.org), spend large sums not only trying to stack caucus night but also training people to manipulate the caucus process, sidestep the intent of the rules of order etc, and browbeat their fellow citizens out of their only meaningful opportunities for political participation.

Somehow we're all supposed to believe David Leavitt is the wealthy evil influence in this state and ignore the fact that FreedomWorks, flush with their success in buying the 2012 state convention, spent a million dollars trying to stack and manipulate the 2012 caucus and then trying to influence the convention delegates?

Rdanpetersen
North Ogden, UT

I have served on GOP county and state central committees. I have always attended my caucus meetings. I enjoy this every other year tradition. Two years ago, I served as a precinct chair. Because of a First Presidency letter from the LDS church urging people to attend their caucus meetings, we had a record turnout with over a 112 attending! Even though we were in a large school classroom, there was not enough space! (I am sure we violated fire code). But even with this "record" turnout, we only had 18% of the registered voters in the precinct there! The supporters of the current system keep stressing that we all need to be patriots and attend our caucus meetings. If support at Caucus meetings even reached 40%, there are not enough auditoriums and halls to fit every precinct. It is just physically impossible to achieve a broad based support at Caucus meetings. Caucus meetings, if left in tact, will always get a small minority of the people. And extreme candidates, who have no chance in a general election, will benefit.

VST
Bountiful, UT

@Prodicus,

You said “…candidates can afford to spend a thousand times as much on you [as a delegate].”

Not all of them, Prodicus, and that is the point. The small guy with little money has a shot at getting through the process and winning – that is what this is all about. With Count My Vote, and anything similar to it, the small guy (candidate) does NOT have that shot.

As for the influence of moneyed organizations like Freedom Works and others, they have to work with those delegates one-at-a-time BEFORE the Convention (about two months maximum). And yes, the delegates are targeted – that is why they have been chosen as delegates. They are allowed to vet those candidates one-on-one, face-to-face. The influence of big-money is minimized.

I suspect your real main objection is not about money/bribery, etc. You do not like the political parties being in total control of the selection process of the eventual party nominee (for the General Election) all the way down through the primaries. Am I right?

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