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Comments about ‘Dan Liljenquist: Senate Bill 54 is a reasonable compromise to Count My Vote’

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Published: Thursday, Feb. 20 2014 12:00 a.m. MST

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Utah_1
Salt Lake City, UT

2014 SB 54 Elections Amendments, A proposal for the Utah Legislature to adopt Count My Vote, prior to knowing if they get enough signatures, and prior to a vote in November if they do. It provides exceptions, one of which would ruin the Same Day Ballot that the GOP is adding to increase participation for Neighborhood Caucus Election night.

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. SB 54, lines 796 to 800 ruins that and should be amended.

Again, we need to amend it to allow greater participation by those that are new to the process. Delete lines 796 to 800. This will allow someone new to run the night of the meeting. We have and should have incentives to file and run for delegate or precinct chair prior to the meeting, but as drafted, the bill reduces participation.

micawber
Centerville, UT

In 2011, according to the Bureau of Business and Economic Research, the annual average wage or salary in the United States was $48,301. In Utah, it was $41,105. If the caucus system is responsible for Utah being ranked best for business, is it also responsible for low pay in Utah?

GZE
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

While the proposals presented in SB54 may fix some of the most egregious problems with the current system, the far more important issue is the Legislature's continuous efforts to thwart the Initiative process.

I suppose we should feel somewhat honored that they are so afraid of us; but the point is: It is our right as citizens to put an initiative on the ballot. The Legislature has an obligation, as our public servants, to allow us to utilize our Constitutional rights.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

I'm glad the initiative effort has pushed the GOP to stand up to its hard-right faction. I like SB 54 for letting everybody vote in the primaries instead of locking most voters out. It's about time.

Strider303
Salt Lake City, UT

I like the present caucus system. I have participated and will continue to participate in grass roots politics. I do not want a change.

I think those who want to change the current system are those who genuinely feel they know what's best for us unwashed and unsophisticated masses and want to lead us as they feel best. The whole idea is about power, political power, to shape elections and choose their candidates for office.

The current problem is that the people at the grass roots level are more politically alert and knowledgeable and have rejected those who see themselves as power brokers and king-makers. They are upset and want to regain their former station "above the salt".

I also note that those who are in the lead are my age, grasping for power and meaning in the twilight of their careers and mourn that they have been rejected, their wisdom and influence discarded. It is painful for them to bear.

The caucus system empowers those who are willing to take part and work for an ideal. It may not always please those who want to lead but it is a republican democracy in action.

Fred44
Salt Lake City, Utah

How would SB 54 be a compromise? The whole concept of a compromise involves both sides reaching an agreement. Did Senator Bramble reach out to the leaders of Count My Vote and find middle ground? I don't think so.

Isn't it great that those who have the most to lose by a change to the system, can put forth legislation that disregards the will of the people and we call that a compromise? I am so grateful to have the all knowing Utah State legislature ready and willing to step in when the "low information voters" of this state want to change the system in a way that will be bad for the state.

jrgl
CEDAR CITY, UT

No way Dan! SB54 needs to be voted out and is only supported by legislators who fear for their caucus protected jobs, extreme views and elections.
Count my vote has some heavy hitter supporters including former governor Mike Leavitt.
We are only one of a very few states hanging onto the archaic caucus system. The neighborhood caucus system is only attended by a small portion of Utahans. Voter numbers are down and many say 'why should I vote when the vote has been determined by a caucus and my vote doesn't count".
Speak up Utah! I signed the Count my Vote petition and I urge you to sign as well. Enough of the caucus system which overlooks the voice of the majority.
Make your vote count

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

CMV is nothing but "good old boy" politicians telling the rest of us will be elected. Big money, incumbents, and name recognition are the only thing that they care about. The average guy, like you or me, has no chance at serving in public office as long as the "good old boys" have their say. They know that the average voter doesn't have a clue about who is running - except for the incumbent. They know that the incumbent will always win if they can keep him from being vetted properly before the primary. They know that the more they talk about "everybody must be allowed to vote for any candidate", the more the uninformed will cheer them on.

We live in a Democratic Republic. Count My Vote opposed a Democratic Republic. Too few of the citizens of this State have any idea what it means to be a citizen of a Democratic Republic. We assign others the heavy lifting in politics so that we can perform our jobs knowing that responsible people are vetting candidates for us. That concept is opposite what CMV plans to do.

MET
Salt Lake, UT

I have been an active participant in Caucus meetings for thirty years and held party offices and acted as a delegate to both conventions. I would not entirely agree that the system has served us well for decades or we wouldn't have a large majority (determined by polls) of the citizenry that are very unhappy with the current system and hoping it changes. Even those elected by this flawed system now admit (because of political necessity)it needs changing. It is clear that a majority prefer a system that provides representation which more closely reflects our values and desires for governmental action. It is clear that the curent system, through politically extreme delegates, has elected politicians who would never have won a primary election. Whether it is education, immigration, control of who can vote for office candidates it is clear that the current body of legislators is more interested in protecting their jobs than allowing voters to chose who represents them.

stevo123
slc, ut

SB 54 is a run around CMV, the entrenched and very powerful despise CMV. They also despise the citizen initiative process.

Web Geek
Lehi, UT

If CMV passes, it will be easier for incumbents to get reelected, because they will have money, power, and name recognition.

Bottom line, citizen initiatives are great for repealing laws. They are horrible for creating new laws, because they don't go through the same vetting process that is in the legislature.

Those of you who support CMV, have you read all 20 pages of their bill? Do you understand the repercussions if it passes?

SG in SLC
Salt Lake City, UT

Let's put some numbers to this issue...

* Utah Population: 2,855,287 (U.S. Census Bureau July 2012 population estimate; probably about 2.9 million today)

* Registered voters: 1,480,573 (Utah Lt. Governor's Elections webpage)

* "Active" registered voters: 1,254,858 (Utah Lt. Governor's Elections webpage)

* Party convention delegates: approx. 5,500

* If only 8% of active registered voters participated in an open primary, it would be over 100,389 people.

Given this information, which is more likely to better represent the total active registered voters and total population, the 5,500 delegates, or the 100,000+ open primary voters? And this is assuming only 8% voter turnout. While it is impossible to know with certainty beforehand, I would expect voter turnout to be much higher than that. Ultimately, all 1.48 million registered voters (and any other eligible-but-unregistered voters who registered beforehand) would have the opportunity to vote on the entire field of candidates and not just the few candidates who ended up winning the favor of the 5,500 delegates.

This is representative democracy - the electorate choosing the public officials who then make governmental decisions on the electorate's behalf. Choosing delegates to choose the officials is only a derivative of representative democracy.

FT
salt lake city, UT

Look no further than Mike Lee's senate race. Polls overwhelming showed that the majority of voters preferred Bob Bennett over Mike Lee. But, because of the caucus system and it's closure to the majority of Utahns we never got the chance to vote for Bob over Mike. The radical, right wing and tea party want to hold on to the current system because they fear they'll lose power if more people get involved in the process. The decision is simple if you see the current, distructive path so many of our current leaders are pursuing. CMV is the right choice.

Fred44
Salt Lake City, Utah

Web Geek,

You said referring to initiatives, "They are horrible for creating new laws, because they don't go through the same vetting process that is in the legislature". When you say vetting process I am guessing you mean the closed door republican caucus where all the decisions are made, not the show that is put on out on the floor of the senate because the republicans already know how the vote is going to turn out.

pickmerg
gunnison, UT

To FT what poll about Bennett and Lee are you talking about?

Sal
Provo, UT

We don't need a compromise. We need the right to choose our candidates directly without the filter of delegates. It is shameful that these senators want to repress this citizens' initiative. It will back fire. We are paying attention to those who legislators who support SB54.

cmsense
Kaysville, UT

"When government suppresses the people it is not in the people's interest but for their own want for power". Let everyone vote in the primaries. I agree with jrgl ...
"SB54 needs to be voted out and is only supported by legislators who fear for their caucus protected jobs, extreme views and elections."
I'm losing some major respect for these guys. Cumon Dan you are better than this.

cmsense
Kaysville, UT

People want to vote for candidates not delagates. Who has time to spend hours at a caucus to elect a delagate who may or may not vote for the candidate you want. That's very discouraging to participation for those of us with busy less flexible jobs and family responibilities.. Let me spend three hours learning about candidates positions and arguments at the place of my convienience (at home if I like) and one minute voting. The masses don't vote in primaries. It will be those that care enough to vote and the politicians should trust them. People are very busy with jobs and families and it shouldn't be just those with a lot of time on their hands that think they should vote for the rest of us. SB 54 is offensive. If politicians want to help the electorate, set up a central website where potential candidates can put forth their veiws and arguments but absolutely change to a direct primary system. Why is Utah in the stone age?

JJ78
Salt Lake City, UT

It seems that those who are most eager to change the system are those who opt not to participate in the process that exists today. They don't participate and are then disappointed with the outcome.

There are benefits to the current system that cannot possibly be provided through a direct primary. With the caucus system, delegates have direct access to meet with the candidates, ask them questions. With a direct primary that access cannot exist, it's simply impractical. The candidates message will be exactly what they want us to hear, with no way to challenge it directly. Additionally, the one with the most money will flood the airwaves and mailboxes with propaganda. This creates a major advantage for incumbents who generally have access to more money than their challengers.

An engaged delegate has the opportunity to see things that even informed voters may not. The image seen is not necessarily one managed by a PR firm and hasn't been edited and approved for inclusion on a TV ad. This is critical since so many candidates claim the same position on many issues.

We need participation, not SB45 or Count My Vote.

Constitutionalist
South Jordan, UT

The 'good old boy' network is seething mad that one of their own, Bob Bennett, was removed from office as a result of the Caucus system. They have found some politically correct sounding arguments to turn public opinion against the caucus system, to make sure that one of theirs will never be outed again.

The 'good old boy' network controls every other part of our electoral system. This is the one piece they can't control, so they want to get rid of it. If they do, all elections in the future will be based on whoever has the most money and name recognition, and once a part of the 'good old boy' network, the money will flow, and the name recognition will be there, and we will be fully enslaved.

How many people spend 40-50 hours meeting one-on-one with the candidates before voting at a primary? If most of the people do, then CMV will work. But I am 100% certain that less than 1% of the voters will do this. Yet that is what the delegates, who are elected at the caucuses will do for us. We need them!

With CMV more people will vote, but in ignorance.

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