Time for caucus reform

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  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    Oct. 2, 2013 6:59 a.m.

    It's not time for caucus "reform" -- it's time for caucus elimination. When a voter casts a ballot in an election s/he knows his/her vote counts (even if the voter's favored candidate is defeated). The same is not true at a caucus -- we select someone to decide, at some time in the future, who s/he will vote for at a convention (County) where someone else is selected to decide at another convention (State) who will be the candidate on the ballot in an actual election. the chance of any caucus-goer's "vote" actually being a deciding factor is slim to none.

    I want my vote to actually count. That is why I'm going to sign the Count My Vote petition at the earliest possible moment and urge everyone with whom I speak to do the same (and then vote to get rid of the caucus system and establish a primary election so the voters can actually select their own candidates to go on the general ballot).

  • i am hank Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 30, 2013 8:12 a.m.

    Utah 1,

    Thanks for sharing info on how the GOP is striving to improve participation. Your familiarity with such data indicates to me that you are probably a GOP insider with a vested interest in preserving the current system. I served as a delegate this past election cycle, and I attended the 2013 GOP Organizing Convention when delegates voted down every reform proposal that was submitted. Delegates and insiders currently hold the power in the current system -- therefore it is no surprise that they don't want the system changed.

    The fact remains that, unless I am elected as a delegate, I have zero say in who the party nominates. A primary system gives me a voice. There is nothing that you can say about "increasing participation" in the caucus system that changes that. Also, you never addressed the question I raised earlier -- if the caucus system is so great, why do we have a primary system for presidential elections? The inconsistency here is mind-boggling.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 29, 2013 3:29 p.m.

    How could you get a small group to distort democracy?

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Sept. 29, 2013 9:01 a.m.

    I would like to thank "Lightbearer" for providing me with a link to investigate who the "editorial board" are.

    Although the link does not appear to mention the "editorial board" other than the advisory board, of which I am aware, I am grateful to see various editors listed on the page.

    These are NOT the general authorities of the LDS Church, so my faith in those authorities remains unchallenged. These editorial opinions,are often diametrically opposed to mine, based on an ongoing review of the scriptures, prophetic talks etc, in which I seek not confirmation of any pre-existing views but direction.

    A perusal of these editors does not qualify them, in my view, to offer any more than a human opinion. I hear many similar opinions among members of my faith, as well as many very different opinions from the same source.

    This particular article is inaccurate. The caucus system DOES NOT "exclude the public from deciding who its candidates might be". It actually invites a much more comprehensive participation of ALL with the ability to provide far more than the sparse information offered by the print media.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 29, 2013 8:45 a.m.

    i am hank, Careful what you wish for.

    As you know from 2008 to 2010 neighborhood election meeting attendance doubled. From 2010 to 2012, meeting attendance doubled again. There is hope that in 2014, 250,000 will attend. I know that The State GOP has a committee that is working to make sure we don't have the same problems for 2014 and that the system can handle the volume of those interested and still allow time to meet candidates and ask questions.

    New proposals for 2014 is a better system for check in, including optional pre-registration. The ability to optionally pre-file to run to represent your neighbors as well. The meeting will be designed to last for 2 hrs. or less, from 7pm to 9pm. There will be a pre-meeting from 6pm to 7pm to allow you to personally meet candidates that have decided to run and ask one on one questions and even with large groups, make sure members can agree on questions to ask neighborhood representative candidates with more time to hear from them.

    I hope you will come again in 2014 and make the meeting better.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 29, 2013 8:42 a.m.

    one vote,
    Senator Lee?
    re: Sen. Bennett in 2010. He was not in the top 2 coming out of convention. In fact the more moderate Tim Bridgewater was selected by 57% of the delegates in the last round. Mike Lee managed to get 43% and make it to a primary. Sen. Bennett endorsed Tim Bridgewater during the primary, but with voters ticked at TARP and ObamaCare, they went with Mike Lee.

  • Winglish Lehi, UT
    Sept. 29, 2013 8:37 a.m.

    I agree that it's time for caucus reform. My own neighborhood caucus is a joke. We have a couple of silvery tongued know-it-alls whose votes are allegedly more informed than the rest of us. What a crock of garbage.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 28, 2013 4:21 p.m.

    where would tea party supporters yell?

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Sept. 28, 2013 3:26 p.m.

    Re: "It is simply not accurate to say the current system is somehow more reflective of the will of the people . . . ."

    Yeah, it is.

    That's why it's costing the disingenuous "Buy My Vote" crowd so much to blunt their grass roots competition.

  • ray vaughn Ogden, UT
    Sept. 28, 2013 1:52 p.m.

    @American Pareior. Do you seriously believe that the editorial board of the Deseret News consists of "progressives and liberals"? The selection process is currently controlled by a small clique of supporters of the Eagle Forum. I find it difficult to believe they are the voice of the majoritu of utah Citiozens. i also find it difficult to believe that Mike Leavitt, Norma Matheson, Gail Miller and others are hungry for power to personally influence elections.

  • Nonconlib Happy Valley, UT
    Sept. 28, 2013 1:35 p.m.

    Excellent opinion piece. Well reasoned. Let's put the question on the ballot and let the voters of Utah decide, just as we should for all primary candidates. The GOP's closed primary stinks of the same exclusivism and irrational fear that permeates their approach to politics at all levels in recent years.

  • Lightbearer Brigham City, UT
    Sept. 28, 2013 12:17 p.m.

    Re Gildas: "... I cannot find a separate list of names for the editors."

    Perhaps this is what you're looking for: Go to the very bottom of the screen on the Deseret News website and click on "Contact Us." A page will open listing the management (including the editor and managing editor) and the department heads (newsroom editor, local news editor, etc.).

  • Creaver Sandy, UT
    Sept. 28, 2013 11:57 a.m.

    Gildas, are you claiming that something in the teachings and/or doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints requires Utah to maintain its archaic and unrepresentative caucus system? Is there a section of the D&C that mentions state or county conventions?

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Sept. 28, 2013 10:56 a.m.

    In the phrase "In Our Opinion" who is the "our"? This view does not seem to me likely to be that of those who we imagine to be running things at the Deseret News.

    I doubt very much it is the general authorities of the LDS Church who are the "our" as these opinions do not appear to always correspond with the teachings of so many of them. Neither, I feel very sure, do they all have the same opinion about such things. Nor do I think it to be the unanimous opinion of the "Deseret News editorial advisory board" judging by their resumes and names.

    Is there an editorial board that is "advised" by the "advisory editorial board"? I don't know but I cannot find a separate list of names for the editors. Can anyone help me out on this?

  • Inhliziyo Provo, UT
    Sept. 28, 2013 10:32 a.m.

    As a non-affiliated citizen of Utah I have found that my voice is absolutely worthless under the current system. Since I'm not part of any party my voice is rarely going to be heard because those in the parties don't care about someone who won't be a part of the caucus system due to how closed it is; which is exactly the opposite of what local politics should be.

    I'm sad that the parties in Utah are only looking for hegemonic control and not actually to listening and solving problems. They just want to perpetuate their narrow minded dogma and not listen to more moderate, new generation voices. There is a lot to be said of new ideas that the current parties don't want to listen to. Mostly because they don't want more ideas--only their ideas and view of what Utah should be. They should give way to more ideas and really try to do go for the community and not just pander to a few with similar ideas.

  • i am hank Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 28, 2013 10:11 a.m.

    Utah's current system is a joke. I have been a delegate many times, and every time I participate, my disdain for the process grows. I have heard all of the arguments for it, and very few of them persuade me. Here's one question that all of the caucus supporters haven't been able to answer -- if the caucus system is so great, why do we hold presidential primaries in Utah? Every Republican has been able to go to the ballot and vote for their preferred candidate for president. They just haven't been able to do it for any other office. If it is so important that every voter has the right to vote in a primary for president, why don't voters get the same right for every other office?

    I want Count My Vote to succeed. I want the right to vote on candidates for every office, not just for president. This is what Count My Vote offers -- a chance for every voter to be heard. Our current system denies most voters this basic right.

  • Rudizink Ogden, UT
    Sept. 28, 2013 10:12 a.m.

    Bravo, D-News Editorial Board!

  • American Patriot Eagle Mountain, UT
    Sept. 28, 2013 9:45 a.m.

    The Count My Vote concept is a disaster for Utah. The caucus system needs to be retained. The progressives and liberals are behind this effort to 'reform' the election process in Utah. What I discovered as a GOP State Delegate was a real eye-opener. This is a carefully planned operation intended to allow for the Powers That Be to control everything in this state. The citizens of Utah need to be fighting against the Count My Vote process every way imaginable.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 28, 2013 9:37 a.m.

    Voter turnout is low in Utah because more & more people are concluding that their vote doesn't really matter in Utah, since the selection of candidates are decided by well-organized political insiders.

    GOP Legislators were pushing a bill forcing schools to teach that Utah is not a democracy, but a "compound constitutional republic". If you think about that term, it actually fits, and this (unintentionally) was a case of rare honesty-in-advertising:

    A very small, well organized minority has a compounded effect in Utah politics. They can effectively impose their agenda on the less organized majority.

    Then fewer people vote, voter disinterest increases, and the cycle repeats. It's the perfect system for the political minority who seek to exert power over what they describe as a less worthy majority.

    Of course the entrenched interests have no interest in changing things. It's working brilliantly for them!

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 28, 2013 8:04 a.m.

    Unless you want another Senator Lee.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 28, 2013 7:11 a.m.

    I oppose the changes espoused by count my vote for the reasons repeated many times prior to the editorial so I will not be redundant here. I do wish to comment on the lower vote turnout in elections.

    IMO lover voter turnout may be due to several factors. Consider that we have a large section of our society who are illegal immigrants who fear being noticed or discovered at election polls. We have a lot of young voters who traditionally don't vote that often and IMO are ignorant of issues, and by in large are self centered and have a care-less attitude as a whole. We as a state have a large section of our young adult population serving LDS missions who do not vote and may not immediately register or re-register upon returning.

    IMO Count my vote people are the so-called moderates of both parties who have been excluded from controlling their party's caucuses as they have in the past and are trying to regain control. They seem to feel that they, the "Elder Statesmen", should rule the people. Read into that what you may.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 28, 2013 12:13 a.m.

    We already have a "bypass" system, filing as an unaffiliated candidate. A candidate can go straight to the general election ballot. Someone who doesn't think they can win if vetted by average citizens asking one on one questions can still run and spend their money. Why should they be a political party nominee if they are going to bypass their political party?

    At only one time for 10 years in Utah’s history did the state depart from the Neighborhood Election, Caucus and Convention System. In 1937, a powerful democratic state senator convinced enough of the legislature to switch to an open primary. He had had two losses, a US Senate race and also for governor, because the majority of the convention delegates disagreed with his legislative voting record. But he was well known and had money.

    Many at the time felt like an open primary was his ticket to the governorship, and he did win. But the change in the system only lasted for a decade. After public and media disillusionment, and even worse voter turnout, Utah restored the Caucus and Convention System. Why go back?

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 28, 2013 12:13 a.m.

    Stand in the way of the people? There were more media than supporters at the Count My Vote / Buy My Vote filing announcement.

    We have a system that that does NOT favor the incumbent, the wealthy or the famous. This is a good thing, and should be preserved.

    The Neighborhood Election and Convention system in Utah is the best way to make sure a grassroots process can win over large amounts of money. It is the only way someone with $100,000 can go against someone with $2 million in election funds.

    We want neighbors discussing the best candidates and finding ways to improve this state and the nation. If the system is changed, we would be dropping off votes, but not meeting and discussing candidates and issues. That is what is wrong with Washington, D.C. They don’t listen to each other in a meeting. They watch from their offices. We need to change that, not perpetuate it.