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Comments about ‘Rep. Jason Chaffetz tells Utah lawmakers he backs caucus system’

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Published: Monday, Feb. 24 2014 9:09 p.m. MST

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SLars
Provo, UT

If anyone cares where I stand, I support count my vote, and feel that politicians trying to stop it, need to be stopped.

Henry Drummond
San Jose, CA

Of course there is an argument to be made that it isn't what Jason Chaffetz wants but what the voters of Utah want.

When California made the change, I think it helped promote candidates whose political ideas were closer to the will of the people rather than the will of the few.

caljimw
Orem, UT

Representative Chaffetz makes valid points about the caucus system, but in so doing he seems to fail to take into account that the system is based on the determinations of a miniscule number of citizens who are politically active. While it is true that any interested citizen may attend and be heard at caucuses, the fact remains that the decision makers are almost always those who have an established political agenda. Another locally published article on this issue pointed out how relatively few of Utah's citizens now vote on local and statewide issues.
I have read the entire content of the proposed open primary initiative. It seems reasonable, and would hopefully create additional voter interest. More importantly, it should better inform voters on issues confronting political bodies in this state.

Furry1993
Ogden, UT

Of course Chaffetz wants the caucus system. He wants to stay in office, and that's the best way to accomplish it -- he doesn't want to have to try to get the votes of ALL the people, instead of just those in the Eagle Forum, Sutherland Institute and other far right extremist organizations that stack and control the caucuses.

bandersen
Saint George, UT

One of the reasons Mitt didn't get my vote! If count my vote wins the day, money is all that it will take to buy an election, something both monied democrats and Republicans well know? For them, it is just another game for power and honor; for the rest of us, paying for their phones ideas. To say that they are in it to serve, is an oxymoron insult of the highest order!

wjalden
Cottonwood Heights, UT

My faith in Mitt died a little when he endorsed Bob Bennett for re-election in 2010. It died a lot more when he picked Mike Leavitt for his chief-of-staff and Paul Ryan for his running mate. He may be a "nice guy," but his political positions all favor the wealthy special interests. It's why he couldn't connect with the voters nationwide in 2012, why he got 4 million fewer votes than McCain did in 2008 (even though he could've won running away), and why I would never vote for him again.

Self-government is about a lot more than filling out a ballot with your opinion. It's about conversing with your neighbors, intelligently, respectfully, about what issues matter to you, them and the community. It's about doing everything you can to downplay the importance of money and increase thoughtful political dialogue. This is the kind of democracy celebrated in the famous Norman Rockwell painting.

Every election, our rich, powerful incumbents - who've had a 2-4-6 year head start on raising money over any of their opponents - have to face precinct delegates directly and answer serious questions. Why is that a bad thing?

wjalden
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Henry Drummond: "When California made the change, I think it helped promote candidates whose political ideas were closer to the will of the people rather than the will of the few."

You pick a state that has been famously ungovernable, on the decline, and on the verge of bankruptcy, and cite it as an example of how to run things. That's like citing Miley Cyrus as a model of virtue and propriety.

There are plenty of hated and/or corrupt and/or extremist politicians throughout the country who were chosen via straight primaries. There is absolutely no reason to think a straight primary would be better than the caucus-convention-primary system Utah has at present, and lots of reasons to think it could be worse.

barndog48
AMERICAN FORK, UT

Politicians like Chaffetz will always favor a caucus system, its a lot easier to convince a few delegates than try to appeal to all of the great unwashed that could come in and cast a primary ballot. If we could get a stand-up guy to run for Mike Lee's Senate seat in a Republican primary maybe could get a Bob Bennett back.

i am hank
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Chaffetz's comments justifying the current system are all about how "the little guy" can run a credible election. True, the current system does that. But what about the rights of the voters who aren't delegates? The current system disenfranchises them. Chaffetz knows full well that the only citizens he needs to reach out to are delegates. Count My Vote will change that so Chaffetz will be accountable to his entire constituency, not just to the few hundred delegates in his district.

wjalden
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The big goal of Count My Vote is divide-and-conquer. It would give us a no run-off primary.

Under the present system, the list of candidates is narrowed down to two, at most. If an incumbent makes it into the primary (as Chris Cannon did against Chaffetz in 2008), he has only one opponent. If Cannon had faced 2 or 3 or 20 opponents, with no run-off, his opposition would have been divided and he would still be in office today. Cannon was unpopular, but no single candidate would have outpolled him.

That's why the Count My Vote system is far inferior to our present caucus-convention-primary system. If we go to a straight primary, then our incumbents, flush with money from selling their votes for their entire term, will seldom be defeated.

Utah is a solidly Republican state. The Republican will almost always win. Our current system is better than a primary at holding Republican incumbents accountable, because once a Republican makes it on the general election ballot it's highly unlikely they will lose.

SigmaBlue
Centerville, UT

I haven't heard a single plausible argument in behalf of the caucus system, not even after reading Rep. Jason Chaffetz's comments. Direct representation of the people has been and always will be the American way. I'm deeply disappointed in Utah's state legislators trying to undermine "Count My Vote", where again the legislators want to keep the people out of their business. "We the People" should be the battle cry for allowing the people to decide their state and country's future, and a good start is by voting for "Count My Vote".

ronk-sandy
SANDY, UT

I support Count My Vote. I disagree with Rep Chaffetz, as big money will flow most likely flow to the incumbent. Another reason for this initiative is to give us more choices than the one party vote we seem to get in this State. I would be okay with the Caucus system if we had term-limits on US Senatore, Representatives, Governor and state legislature. For then we could cause turnover and break the political monopolies that we currently have in our country. Overall, I feel tha we need a system that creates more inclusiveness and incentive for people to learn about our government and who we want to represent us.

Everyone should read the book "Why Nations Fail" to learn more about the benefits of an inclusive society and what they can do. Right now, I feel that we as a nation, are regressing into a pattern of extractive political and economic society.

Harrison Bergeron
Holladay , UT

The caucus system weeds out the lazy and uniformed voters (I will not mention which party relies on their votes). People at the caucuses are engaged, informed and must defend their positions to their neighbors. The caucuses are reminiscent of early America where people vigorously debated the issues in taverns and town halls. Sadly, in modern America, many people get their political information from comedians and bumper stickers.

Where there are no caucuses, incumbents rely on the size of their campaign coffers rather than the strength of their positions. We already have to suffer the consequences of these low-information voters in the primary and general elections. Do we really want our candidates determined by who can buy the most ad time during Judge Judy and the Kardashians?

David
Centerville, UT

I have a few questions.

If you are trying to game a system to win something, like an election, is it easier to stack/game the system with fewer people involved (caucus) or with a large number of people involved (primary)?

Why do people believe that money doesn't win an election under the caucus system?

Why do people think that power & influence doesn't have an effect under the caucus system?

Has anyone compared the amount of money spent for campaigns in states our size with primaries as opposed to Utah with its caucus? Some say that a primary will require more money, or will eliminate the smaller guy from being able to win. It seems to me that all of our candidates are either independently wealthy or have wealthy backers, and this under the caucus.

caljimw
Orem, UT

wjalden: As a lifelong Republican, and former Californian, I was an unsuccessful primary campaign candidate for state Assembly, spending 29 cents per vote. The winner of the primary won by about 1000 votes in a 30,000 vote election, and spent $4.30 per vote in the process. He lost in the general election. My point is, that with hard work, even on a very limited budget, our campaign came very close to winning, because of a great deal of grass roots support. I favor the primary system.

bandersen
Saint George, UT

The Count My Vote people just want to by pass the grass roots effort and hard work that should go with becoming a candidate. It is easier to manipulate the public by those that don't have values, but a lot of money. The farce is thinking that the democrats or republicans are different! The current caucus system gives the average joe the best chance to elect responsible leaders, even if cronyism has manipulated that system too! Is there any readers here that know the difference between a democracy and a republic? If you did, Count My Vote would be a non starter!

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

My first glance at the screen headline had me believing chaffetz supports the 'circus' system. Perhaps my first glance was correct.
Or, it's time to quite staring at this small screen bouncing down a North Dakota highway and get some sleep.

sayswho
Hurricane, UT

In the "caucus" system, the principles of this American Republic are utilized to their best. Not everyone will invest the time to know which of the first candidates to run will serve the Party and the area the best. Just like we can't know the "ins" and the "outs" of every bill that is placed before congress, we elect representatives to investigate the matter in detail for us and then vote for us for what they consider to be the best outcome, or in this case candidate. I have been a delegate several times, and I spent many hours investigating and speaking directly with the candidates. I happen to know that most of the other delegates do the same thing. It's not as though that others do not have a say. If there is not an overwhelming majority voting for the candidate, it goes to a primary election. I know that the "caucus" system works. Republican government, YES!

Dr. Coach
Bountiful, UT

Count my vote = wealthy progressive liberal republican candidates on the general election ballot running against wealthy progressive liberal democrats.

Caucus system = conservative republican grass roots common man on the general election ballot running against a progressive liberal common man democrat.

This is a no brainer Utah! Don't sign the petition. Keep BUY MY VOTE out of our state and keep choice on our general election ballot.

all hands on deck
Sandy, UT

Caucus system: Hire someone from your local neighborhood. Call that person every week to find out who they met with and what they learned. Help that person pick the best candidate through a lengthy, often, one-on-one interview process. A lot of information is what you will get.

Count (Buy) my Vote: Never see a candidate up close and personal again. Sound bites are all you will get. You will have pretty brochures and pretty websites and then you will make your choice. Low information voters will vote with little or no information.

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