Count My Vote initiative expected to go forward even if lawmakers approve reforms

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  • majmajor Layton, UT
    Jan. 18, 2014 6:04 a.m.

    My biggest issue with the current system is that the only people that have paid for America's wars, and serving in the Armed Forces, out of the state, are locked-out of this process. They are the ones that are the most knowledgeable about national problems, pay Utah's income taxes, and receive no benefit of any Utah services. Logistically, they can NOT attend the mass meetings, or participate as a delegate.

    If California, or any other state, disregarded their resident Service Members like Utah does, there would be an uproar (correctly) over this inequality. Utah needs to take a look at how it treats the only Utah residents that have the courage to serve their Nation, or pay for its wars (with their blood).

    It is a shame.

  • thunderbolt7 DUTCH JOHN, UT
    Jan. 18, 2014 5:31 a.m.

    Sal, In a Caucus system you can ask potential delegates their positions. Therein is an advantage of a Caucus system over Primaries - A Caucus is a meeting of neighbors interacting, where you can try to persuade your neighbors. In a primary system solitary people don't interact with others. How can you argue against Mike Lee in a Primary system unless you are rich and can pay for advertising. You can even become a delegate yourself.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    Jan. 17, 2014 10:27 a.m.

    Jefferson, Thomas,

    I agree that you should look at who is supporting each side. You are however wrong on why educators are supporting Count My Vote. Those who oppose Count My Vote only want to look at the US House and Senate elections and fail to look at our state house and senate elections. Count My Vote will take away some of the power the radical right to push their candidates through the local caucuses for state legislative positions. How often have state republican legislators been defeated in their local caucuses? I am far less concerned about those elected to the US Congress than those elected at the state level. The Washington do nothings really don't effect my world. The state is a different story, they have a great effect on my life, transportation, education, taxes, etc.etc.

    The far right Utah legislators the Sutherland Institute and those who like to have total control of the legislative process in Utah are the ones afraid of Count My Vote.

  • Jefferson, Thomas Bluffdale, UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 4:10 p.m.

    All you need to know is what groups and individuals are supporting this fraud. Has any reporter bothered to ask exactly what votes in the past were not counted? This initiative will insure elected officials will stay there until they feel ready to leave. They do not lose in primaries. The education groups like it cause they get the status quo for politicians rather worry about someone they like being defeated. It is a disaster for the process if this thing passes.

  • paulw Springville, UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 3:17 p.m.

    Sal, general elections are the November elections that decide who takes office. In even numbered years there are state and national offices up for grabs at the general election, and in odd numbered years there are nonpartisan municipal general elections (although recently Utah's more corrupt Republicans have been trying to twist the nonpartisan elections into de facto partisan elections). Those local elections are important, since your local leaders affect your life. Curt is right (yes, he is) that primary elections don't get as much turnout as general elections, but that's true everywhere and inevitable, especially in a state where people aren't used to primaries. Municipal general elections are poorly attended, municipal primaries attended even less, but then none of that has anything at all to do with the caucus/convention process, so it wasn't a very good example for Curt to use.

  • Sal Provo, UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 2:19 p.m.

    Senator Bramble, most voters are not that concerned about municipal elections. It is the general elections we care most about and for which we hope for open primaries. Also, we look for candidates who are good at raising money. This suggests an effective politician.

    In the next caucus meetings we have, coming up, I'm going to ask potential delegates what their position is on Count My Vote. I'm going to try to choose delegates who favor open primaries. I'll also ask how they feel about Mike Lee going forward. I'm going to vote for delegates willing to replace him. He ignored majority voters in Utah who did not want the shut-down and went ahead and voted with Tea Party wishes. That's how powerful the Tea Party caucus is in Utah. We're tired of this far-right influence in Utah.

  • CurtBramble Provo/Utah, UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 1:33 p.m.

    Sal in Provo ... I believe that we need greater citizen participation in the electoral process and that there may be a more effective alternative to accomplish that goal than either status quo or CMV. Data suggests that simply moving to open primaries does not result in greater voter participation. For example, Provo has had open primaries for municipal offices for decades and the turnout is very low, I fact much lower than general elections. Each of the "planks" in my proposal is specifically designed to give citizens a much stronger voice in our election process, while maintaining the ability of the average citizen without deep pockets, to run for office.

    Brad in South Ogden.... I agree that citizens should have a greater opportunity to understand who is running as a delegate and what they stand for. My proposal would provide you with a longer time to consider who you would support as a delegate. It would also allow up affiliated voters to vote in primaries., as well a a few other reforms, all targeted at greater citizen involvement.

  • Sal Provo, UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 10:20 a.m.

    Sen. Bramble's bill doesn't go far enough. He's trying to protect himself among the far-right delegates while at the same time appease those of us who want a direct primary. Introduce a bill for a direct primary Senator. It's what 'we the people' want.

  • Brad Peterson South Ogden, UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 9:59 a.m.


    You said a same day ballot should help those of us unable to attend caucus night.

    Does that give me a chance to learn who all the potential delegates will be and what they stand for (in other words, do all potential delegates declare 24 hours before and post their bios online?) The answer to that will be no.

    Does that same day ballot give me the chance to be a delegate? No.

    Does that same day ballot allow me to reasonably influence my delegate? No.

    Does that same day ballot allow me to verify through my delegate's votes if he voted as he said he would? No.

    Telling me the same day ballot solves the problem is insulting. I want a voice and a vote in the process.

    Finally, you're a paid advocate for the caucus system. The Utah First Political Issues Committee, which already has thousands to work with. Your paid to spin and defend the caucus system.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    Jan. 16, 2014 9:21 a.m.


    People have been complaining about he caucus system and the inability to vote unless they could be at the meeting has been going on for years and the republican party has ignored it. Now they all of a sudden the republicans change their long standing rules to try and head off the Count My Vote Movement? Kind of an interesting coincidence don't you think? Lets be honest here, the caucus delegates typically represent the extreme of their party, and a primary would open the door for more moderates to vote for candidates.

    Shouldn't we encourage this petition and allow the citizens of Utah to decide what they want their election system to look like, or are we afraid that Utah voters are not smart enough to vote the right way.

  • paulw Springville, UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 8:34 a.m.

    General elections in Utah are largely meaningless, because whoever is the Republican wins automatically. Therefore, if you want a real vote, you need to be able to vote on who gets on the ballot in the first place. That means a primary election. Otherwise, the only people casting meaningful votes are the few convention delegates. That's wrong. This concept shouldn't be difficult, it's called no taxation without representation.

    I'm all for Count My Vote, because I want a vote that counts. What I'd like today, though, is for the press to look into what's up with the organization. I tried to donate twice online, and it wouldn't work. I e-mailed them about that, and got no response. I signed up online to be a neighborhood signature collector several weeks ago, and heard nothing. Is Count My Vote real, or is it a few politicians playing chicken with the rest, by pretending to have an organization behind them? Seems like Count My Vote is wasting opportunities by not involving the people they say they want to have a voice.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 7:22 a.m.

    Brad Peterson,
    The Utah Republican party has a Same Day Ballot for 2014 that should help.

    Can't come that night? CMV has totally ignored and refuses to even admit that the Utah GOP has Same Day Ballots for 2014, which solves the mom with the sick kids or the firefighter that had to work or the military/mission voters.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 7:20 a.m.

    I was there. James Evans referenced a study that compared states with a "dominate" political party and we are right in the middle of that. What he said next was that he wasn't going to help the democratic party get stronger. He had mentioned before and after that he did want greater participation.

    Paul's comment is pretty close, but when I read the article I wondered if she was in the same meeting re: James's quote.

    Early last year, 2 of the 180 members of the didn't want to increase voter turnout to the neighborhood caucus elections. One of those (that was quoted by the media) lost being re-elected. Paul's comment has a very small minority agreeing, perhaps only him.

    The majority want more to attend and James Evans specifically said we are working on ways to get younger voters involved. Young Republican groups and even Teen Age Republican groups.

  • Gandalf Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 7:07 a.m.

    I've been on the fence about Count My Vote for a long time. There are things about the caucus system that I like.

    But then I read this article. And I'm now supporting Count My Vote. The thing that tipped me over the edge? Paul Mero. He's against Count My Vote. So I figure that I need to be in favor of it.

    The Sutherland Institute and Paul Mero are very reliable guides for me in how I should vote.

  • JenicaJessen Riverton, UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 12:05 a.m.

    "Young voters, Mero said, "don't have a clue" and are too selfishly wrapped up in their own lives to attend a caucus meeting."

    Well, thanks for that, Mero. 2012 was the year I turned 18, and I attended the caucus meetings for BOTH major parties. I researched every candidate on the ballot, including minor races such as school board elections, and made sure that I was thoroughly informed on all the major issues.

    Here's the kicker-- I didn't even vote. My birthday wasn't until one month after Election Day.

    I'm now a legal adult, with all the rights and responsibilities that entails. And I certainly do not think it's your right to make decisions for me, based on stereotypes and generalizations, just because I happen to have been born a few years later. I certainly don't think asking for a fair election counts as selfishness.

    DN Subscriber: Check again. The vast majority of signature gatherers are volunteers.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 11:30 p.m.

    When Utah tried a direct primary in 1937 to 1947, it came with a run off primary, so the majority would elect the nominee. When the voting turn out and the cost drove the public and the media to reject that system - a compromise, caucus/convention and run off primary was created. We have that today. Count My Vote not only removes the nominating for general elections using delegates, it removes the run off primary system we have and nominees will no longer be selected out of a 2 person race.

    Count My Vote claims more people will be able to vote. A large percentage of voters will not affiliate to vote in the GOP primary election and those same people will not be able to vote in a "GOP" direct primary under Count My Vote. They will get to pay more as Count My Vote makes sure the parties will not be picking up the tab they currently do, it will be the taxpayers, unaffiliated or not.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 11:26 p.m.

    98% of all the money raised, $851,201.50 this year and before comes in contributions of $2,500 or more, much of it $25,000. 92% of all money raised came from 34 donors. 7 of 8 corporations donating to Count My Vote's PIC have not filed with the state as required by state law.

    And Count My Vote is worried about 20,000 state and county delegates that are elected by 150,000 voters? Perhaps we should worry about the 34 that are doing most of the funding of Count My Vote?

  • Brad Peterson South Ogden, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 11:21 p.m.

    The current system does not allow those of us who can't make it to caucus night to have any real voice.

    We can't know prior to caucus night who all the potential delegates will be. We don't get a chance to be delegates ourselves. Afterward we have no power to influence the delegates who represents us. And we have no way to verify if our delegates represented us because their delegate votes are private.

    Even with all this, caucus supporters try to tell me why I'm better without a voice in the process.

    I support Count My Vote, because I can get a vote.

  • Karmen Orem, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 9:43 p.m.

    Neither political party can do enough reforms to allow every voter the representation that a direct primary will allow. It's time to let the people vote! Keep the initiative going!

  • jean22 Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 6:16 p.m.

    I second Daniel84020's comment!

  • Daniel84020 Draper, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 6:03 p.m.

    " 'I'm not a quantity guy. It doesn't bug me that X percent don't participate," Mero said. "What bothers me are ignorant people, ignorant people making decisions on my behalf. … My concerns are about the quality of the citizenship.' "

    I have much bigger concern: It's people so arrogant as to believe they know best, are entitled to hold all the power, and who dismiss those that disagree with them as ignorant.

  • Crisco B Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 5:45 p.m.

    Votes do not count in Utah. All that matters is what the judiciary desires.

  • Kings Court Alpine, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 5:13 p.m.

    "You're asking for an incredible amount of political courage from the Legislature because they have to go against the people who enjoy their status as delegates," Jowers said."

    It is that selfishness that will usher in a primary system and put those same delegates out of a job and the position of power and hubris they so enjoy. Delegates and politicians are kind of like union members. They will hold onto their position even to the point of self-destruction when the company decides to go bankrupt or move somewhere else.

    The irony in this situation is just fantastic. The legislature were asked by the people of Utah to do campaign finance reform and caucus reform. To refused to do either. Fast forward and we have the Swallow campaign corruption scandal and the Count My Vote Initiative. Both will take reform measures much further than what would've been needed if our politicians would've represented the people instead of themselves in the first place.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 5:13 p.m.

    "Fixing" a system that is not broken, with a process that gives all the power to party elite insiders, powerful fat cats with an agenda, and the biased media is a very, very bad "solution."

    The Legislature should NOT do anything to advance the deceptively named "Count my vote" scheme.

    Voters who want a voice in selection of candidates should NOT sign the petitions, no matter what sort of sales pitch the paid signature gatherers make.

    Voters should vote AGAINST this power grab if it makes it to the ballot.