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Published: Friday, Feb. 28 2014 12:00 a.m. MST

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Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Does anyone really think that each and every voters is going to take a week off work to vett each any every candidate on the ballot? Our caucus system doesn't even require that of the delegates that we elect. They only have the responsibility to vett a portion of all of the candidates.

Does anyone think that having a single vote, when more than two candidates are on the ballot, guarantees that the "winner" has a majority of all votes cast? In a direct primary, it is more likely that the " winner" has received fewer than a majority of all votes cast. That candidate is not the party's candidate, but a candidate who represents the will of a few voters who may easily be of another political party.

Count My Vote is an affront to a Democratic Republic. It changes the form of government. That is not a small matter.

Utefan60
Salt Lake City, UT

Thanks Deseret News for publishing this letter. It is well reasoned and accurate.

Curmudgeon
Salt Lake City, UT

Mike, your straw man arguments are in fine form today.

First, most delegates don't take a week off work to vet candidates; they already know whom they intend to support before the caucus meeting begins.

Second, electing a candidate by a plurality of votes when more than two are on the ballot is a viable way of electing representatives; it works in a general election and can just as easily work in a primary election. Limiting a ballot to two candidates effectively disenfranchises those who would prefer to vote for a third or fourth alternative.

Third, electing a candidate who represents the will of a few activists is one of the problems with the current caucus system; an open primary would reduce, not increase, the chances of that happening.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Excellent and truthful letter. Thank you.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

Mike,
I normally agree with you, but not on this issue.

Who needs a week to decide?

your argument of voters from outside the party turning an election is based on a false premise. CMV does not require one party to open its primary to anyone other than its own members. It would still allow a winner based on a plurality, as you say, but NOT votes from non-party members. I still support closed primaries. Why should the LDS elect the pope?

the caucus system is really the affront to a democratic republic. it removes the people even further from their representatives, both on the state and national levels.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

lost in DC,
How is a Republican convention an "affront to a democratic republic"?

Democrats have a convention (and caucuses) as well you know.

===

We've been over this a hundred times, so I wasn't going to post at all today, but I want to remind people... you will have the exact same number of votes if CMV passes as you have today (even if you don't go to your caucus meetings).

So I don't see what all the fuss is about. Especially when only 6% currently show up and vote in their party primary election (where their vote is counted). Doesn't show a ton of interest in their vote being counted if you ask me.

I think CMV people are more concerned that some other votes NOT be counted (the votes at the caucus meetings).

===

Remember... the only function of the convention is to narrow the field to the top-2 for the party primary.

Yes... we already have a party primary (even without CMV)

Most just don't bother to show up and vote in it.

Until that changes... I think CMV fixes nothing.

Lightbearer
Brigham City, UT

Re: "Count My Vote is an affront to a Democratic Republic. It changes the form of government."

How does it change the form of government? Does it abolish elections? Does it abolish the state legislature? Does it abolish Congress?

"A republic, as James Madison explains in Federalist 10, is a 'government in which the scheme of representation takes place.' Unlike a democracy in which the citizens themselves pass laws, in a republic such as ours, citizens rule through the representatives they elect" (The Heritage Foundation).

If candidates are selected in primary elections rather than caucuses, general elections and mid-term elections will still be held to determine which candidates represent us in the state legislature and the U.S. Congress, both of which will still exist as they do now. We will still have a "government in which a scheme of representation takes place," or in other words, we will still have a republic.

If candidates are selected by primaries rather than caucuses, the citizens themselves will still not pass laws, they will still "rule through the representatives they elect" to the state legislature and the U.S. Congress, just as they do now in this republic of ours.

Sal
Provo, UT

The hand writing is on the wall: the caucus system must go. Utah voters are tired of the right wing element of the party choosing its candidates. We are also tired of the time wasted attending poorly organized and overly crowded caucuses.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Lightbearer,

RE: "If candidates are selected by primaries rather than caucuses"...

Again... as a point of clarification. "Candidates" are not selected at caucus (delegates to convention are).

===

I WISH people understood how the current system works.

#1. Your vote does count. You have the same voting opportunities if CMV passes or not (1-Party Primary, 2-General Election)

#2. Caucuses do not select candidates. They select "delegates" to the Convention (Republicans AND Democrats have conventions and caucus meetings).

#3. The 2 Conventions do not select "Candidates". They just narrow the field. This is so the party primary is relevant (so party primary must result in majority winner).

I don't think the people who win in the General Election will change if CMV wins. But I hope people at least understand the current system before replace it (because people looking for signatures frequently mis-represent it).

There are problems with the CMV approach as well. At least understand what you are replacing.

Lightbearer
Brigham City, UT

@ 2 bits: Thanks for clarifying. You wrote: "Your vote does count. You have the same voting opportunities if CMV passes or not (1-Party Primary, 2-General Election)."

According to an article published in this newspaper in 2006, "If candidates get 60 percent or more of the delegate vote in their districts, they win the party nomination outright and there is no primary." If that is still the case, and a candidate gets over 60 percent of the delegate vote, I do *not* have the same voting opportunities, because the opportunity to vote in a primary simply disappears. And even if there is a primary, I only have two candidates to choose from, so, depending on how many candidates there were to begin with, the number of choices might be smaller.

At any rate, the upshot of my comments remains the same. Choosing candidates by direct primaries does not change our form of government. General elections will still be held, we will still have a "government in which a scheme of representation takes place," citizens will not pass laws themselves but they will still "rule through the representatives they elect", and we will still be living in a republic.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Look who's pushing this agenda most (not on TV, but in their comments here).... it's LDS Liberal, Maverik, Curmudgeon, airnaut, and the others well known for their far-left leaning. And why do they want it changed?

Hint... they've already said it. They don't want the right picking who the Republican nominee is.

Well doesn't the Republican party generally represent the right (not the left)? So why shouldn't their nominee be someone the right-wing likes??

===

I don't care if we have neighborhood caucus meetings or not. I think we could do without the Conventions (both of them). But I don't want these rabid liberals picking the Republican nominee to face the Democrat in the General election.

Republicans should decide who the Republican party nominee will be, and who they will support and help fund in the general election. IMO

Utefan60
Salt Lake City, UT

Mike Richards: It doesn't matter if every citizen takes a week off work to vett each candidate. Most people are intelligent enough to study the issues and get to know the candidates themselves! It just isn't the "call-tree" people that are able to do that. I will not trust my vote to someone who has all the time in the world to vett each candidate like Mike claims. Just because they have the time or have been recruited by fringe groups doesn't validate them.

No matter how many times Mike says "Count My Vote is an affront to a Democratic Republic.", most states do not practice this caucus system and the government has not changed. The only change that Count my Vote will do is take away the power these fringe groups have acquired.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Lightbearer,
If somebody gets over 60% support at the Convention... that means the next closest person or persons totaled together got max 39.9% support.

The logic is that it doesn't make sense to spend the candidate's campaign money on the primary race in this case. Save it for the general election.

What is the likelihood that a person getting 0-39% support at convention is going to turn around and win in the primary? Not likely.

The outcome is going to be the same....

The person who gets 60% at convention... would get similar support in the primary. Maybe 1-3 percentage points different, but this is more than a 10% turn around. That never happens.

Heck the delegates to convention were sent by you and me... why assume they would vote totally different than you and me?

CMV will change nothing.

===

Ever seen how many Democrats run "unopposed"? (Hint... that means no primary, also no vote at convention. There's literally no other candidate to vote for at convention... just the one guy)... why no problem with THAT? I think THAT's worse.

Jim Matheson has faced a primary challenge only once in his whole political career.

Lightbearer
Brigham City, UT

Re: "If somebody gets over 60% support at the Convention... that means the next closest person or persons totaled together got max 39.9% support. The logic is that it doesn't make sense to spend the candidate's campaign money on the primary race in this case."

The fact remains that that's one opportunity fewer for the electorate to vote. If the candidate with 60% of the delegates is a shoo-in, what does he have to fear from a primary? If he's confident that he's going to win anyway, and thinks that spending money on a primary campaign is a waste, he could choose not to spend a cent.

At the convention in 2010 Bridgewater had 57.3% of the vote, Lee had 42.7%, and Bennett had 26.59% (source: DN). Still, there are those who contend that Bennett had a chance of winning if all three had appeared on the primary ballot. (And there are those who say he would have lost anyway.) Why not put an end to such speculation, list all of the candidates on the primary ballot, and let the voters decide? I don't see the problem.

Utefan60
Salt Lake City, UT

To Mike Richards: Your comments hold no water. The minority ruled during the last caucuses. That was shown when polls showed a vast majority of Republicans did not want Mike Lee. The Tea Party minority ruled our Republican caucuses along with the Eagle Forum's phone tree. Good and honest voters were not allowed to have the majority decision. Also the caucus systems is NOT a mainstay system by any means in the United States. Most states do NOT have caucus systems but open primaries where independents are allowed to vote. Your repeated argument that we are destroying the Republic just isn't valid.

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