Deseret News
Letter to the Editor

When talk turns to democracy, seldom is mentioned the true nature of absolute democracy — the tendency for mob rule. Of course, the government must be accountable to the governed, but there must also be a way to check the tyranny of the majority.

The founders solved this problem when they crafted the Constitution, which established a republic for the United States. Under this system, the population is divided numerically and geographically, and allotted representation based on these parameters. In this way, a more practical method of governance was achieved, with the legislature chosen by the people to make laws on their behalf.

So, if the intention of the founders was to form a constitutional republic, how, and when, did the egalitarian ideals of democracy, of “one man, one vote" creep into our collective thought process?

The modern effort to move our elections toward direct representation stem from the early Progressive movement of the late 1800s and early 1900s. With party politics firmly established as a political reality coming out of the Civil War, reformers were looking to curb runaway party corruption. Many significant changes resulted primarily due to these efforts, such as states requiring uniform, secret ballots, as opposed to color-coded party distributed ones. These early reform efforts brought about needed and positive change, but it also ushered in fundamentally unconstitutional ideas and practices that have damaged our system and actually decreased public participation in politics.

On the local level, the Count My Vote initiative seeks to destroy the original caucus system, wherein neighbors vote for neighbors to represent themselves in the selecting and vetting of party candidates. In place of the caucus system, direct, open, democratic primaries are desired. The loss of the constitutionally sanctioned caucus system would be a terrible blow to the sovereignty of rural Utah communities, and smaller towns and neighborhoods. The republican form of government guaranteed by the Constitution is at stake. Don’t allow it to slip away. Please don’t support the Count My Vote initiative.