Dan Liljenquist: Keep Utah's caucus system, with a few tweaks

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  • ray vaughn Ogden, UT
    Oct. 28, 2013 7:52 a.m.

    If the Utah caucus system is so good why haven't any other states adopted a Utah style caucus system?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 2:34 p.m.

    Tweeks would be fine, but I don't see how a mail in ballot for caucus voting would work. You don't even know who volunteered (or who you would be voting for). You didn't get to hear what their values are and their philosophy is... so how would an absentee person know which volunteer to vote for??

    There do needs to be changes, but a primary of 6% of the people who have no information besides what they saw on TV is not better. Caucus meetings need to be better managed as well.

  • high school fan Huntington, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 7:34 a.m.

    The problem that nobody is talking about is the fact that even here in Utah we have an uninformed voting body that does not want to take the time or put forth the effort to understand either the issues or the candidates.
    Most people in this state do not know who their state senator is, who their state representative is and any of our elected federal officials. Many have no clue what the Constitution is or why it is important or who even wrote it.
    At least those who attend caucus meetings usually have some knowledge and an opinion on the issues.

  • capndavid Honeyville, UT
    Oct. 24, 2013 11:07 p.m.

    Why choose a neighbor to select which candidates are on the ballot for you, when you can cast your vote for yourself? Caucus delegates are unaccountable for their choices at the conventions & there is no record of how they represented your neighborhood. People attend caucus meetings wanting to discuss candidates and issues, not decide which of their neighbors will best represent them and their opinions. People want to vote for candidates, not unaccountable caucus delegates.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Oct. 24, 2013 4:23 p.m.

    I agree with Z. And as an unaffiliated voter, I would prefer open primaries in both parties so that I can have a say in who will be representing me, even if I do disagree with his/her party platform.

  • Z South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 24, 2013 11:40 a.m.

    The caucus is a quaint 19th century relic of a farming community past. It is time we moved into the 21st century and started trusting ourselves.

    And really, since the caucus system has given us Orrin Hatch for the last 36 years, how effective can we say that it really is? Count my vote, indeed.

  • CougarGrad West Jordan, UT
    Oct. 24, 2013 9:01 a.m.

    I suppose the absentee ballot would have to be more complex than just a candidate name for each round--an absentee voter would never know for sure who would advance to the second round, and hence would probably have to list his or her preferences in descending order or something. Otherwise, I imagine absentee votes would be disqualified relatively frequently, as they would contain votes for people who were eliminated prior to the second round.

    I think these reforms, while probably needed from a strategic standpoint, will fundamentally alter the dynamic of the caucus meetings. However, the great thing is that Republicans in Utah will be able to see the fruits of them way before the general election next year. I imagine failure to provide a good experience at the Utah Republican caucus night next year would likely mean the UTGOP would resort to something more confusing to general voters--like the competing, similarly named initiative mentioned previously--something I personally vehemently oppose. I think if you have to rely on confusion rather than persuasion, you've sold your integrity.

    Assuming CMV gets on the ballot--which I support--I'm still undecided of whether I'll vote for it.

  • watchman Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 24, 2013 8:58 a.m.

    Liljenquist has made a very sensible and strong argument for keeping the caucus system with some new additions and changes that have been suggested by the Republican party leaders.

    This makes a lot of sense over following the arguments of the 'Buy my Vote' (Count my Vote)

    Why try to fix something that isn't broken?

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 24, 2013 8:54 a.m.

    The tea party will run amok.

  • Sal Provo, UT
    Oct. 24, 2013 8:35 a.m.

    Utah_1, Mike Lee is an extremist. Delegates ousted a moderate Bennett. Attendance at the caucus in the years that followed doubled because of that outrage and will double again at the outrage of Mike Lee.

    How would absentee voters know which delegate to vote for? How would they get to know them before the vote?

    I want to choose the candidates myself. I am capable of doing so. Forward with Count My Vote!

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 24, 2013 7:56 a.m.

    CMV labels delegates people with extreme radical views. Delegates nominated John Huntsman Jr, twice, and Mike Leavitt 3 times. The Democrats selected Jim Matheson 6 times. Are all of these people extremists? Primaries in Nevada, Delaware, Missouri, and Indiana produced GOP candidates that were only vetted by special interests and not the people at large, in the last 4 years. The GOP lost all of those seats because of poor candidate preparation. Again, these were all primary states. Our neighborhood elections don’t create extremists. They fully vet candidates!

    That doesn't mean we no primaries. 1/2 of all contested GOP statewide or congressional races in Utah since 2000 were decided by primaries.

  • JMT Springville, UT
    Oct. 24, 2013 6:32 a.m.

    So Motor Voter for Caucus system? Doesn't this strike you as something akin to dead people voting in Chicago? Great story about a guy telling how his Dad was a lifelong Republican, never voted Democrat until he died and was buried in Chicago, in which he voted the next few elections, presumably for the Democratic candidate.

    I like the rest. A great big NO on Chicago style voting.

    Add one great big accolade to the list of Utah accomplishments with our current system. We lead the nation with the highest average ACT scores for graduating high school seniors at just over 21!! That is beyond awesome!

    One note about the ACT. A benchmark is 21, which they say means a student is ready to enroll in college. This means the average Utah public school product is ready to take college classes, not remediation.

    Modernize it but remove the Chicago element from the list.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 24, 2013 6:14 a.m.

    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.

    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. Go back this time with no run off?

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 24, 2013 6:10 a.m.

    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, it will double again and 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 growth 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 include a better system for check in, including optional preregistration. 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 to represent your neighborhood that have decided to run and for you to ask one on one questions. Even with large groups, changes to 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.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    Oct. 24, 2013 5:31 a.m.

    The caucus system does not need to be "tweaked" or modernized. It needs to be totally eliminated. Let the people vote, and have their votes counted. Having their votes count doesn't happen through a caucus, which merely works the entrench the radical extremes like the Tea party, Eagle Forum, etc. (I'm mentioning the Republican radicals because I'm a Republican -- the Democrats have them too). Give the people the power to decide their candidates in the general election, not the party extremes.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    Oct. 24, 2013 5:14 a.m.

    The caucus system does not need to be "tweaked" and modernized. It needs to be done away with. Let the people actually vote for the candidates to stand in the general elections, and let their votes actually count. That doesn't happen in the caucus system. Take the power away from the entrenched radical factions of the parties and give it back to the people.