Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Resolution Declaring the Count My Vote Initiative A Violation of First Amendment Freedoms


A Resolution Declaring the "Count My Vote" Initiative
A Violation of First Amendment Freedoms


WHEREAS, The Count My Vote initiative seeks to eliminate the process that was chosen by the political parties in Utah to select the candidates that best represent them; and,

WHEREAS, The Utah Republican Party has free association rights guaranteed under the Constitution; which entitles political parties to determine how they select their nominees for office; and,

WHEREAS, The state of Utah can regulate the free exercise of political rights only if it satisfies a compelling state interest that is narrowly defined; and,

WHEREAS, The burden will be on the state of Utah to prove they have a compelling interest that mandates significant interference with the autonomy and choice of all political parties in Utah; and,

WHEREAS, The Supreme Court has shown great deference in respecting how political parties exercise their First Amendment rights in the candidate selection process; and,

WHEREAS, The citizen initiative process does not allow for the trampling of Constitutional freedoms, regardless of how many signatures are obtained;

BE IT RESOLVED, That the Central Committee of the Utah Republican Party believes the Count My Vote initiative violates the right of free association guaranteed in the First Amendment.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That regardless of how well intentioned, we stand against all government overreach and control that violates our shared Constitutional freedoms.

Submitted by Aaron Gabrielson
March 1, 2014

This Resolution Passed the Utah Republican State Central Committee with no votes against on March 1, 2014

Friday, February 28, 2014

The count my vote bluff do not negotiate with pirates

Word is reaching that Count My Vote is willing to stop their petition. A negotiation with the Utah Legislature.

Count My Vote = Pirates?
From a year ago:

http://fredcox4utah.blogspot.com/2013/03/fair-elections-in-utah.html

Why would Count My Vote now "cave" ? Several good reasons, they wanted the Utah Legislature to bail them out.

1. They never had a well written proposed law.
http://www.neighborhoodelection.org/flaws_in_count_my_vote_proposed_legislation

2. Their Legal brief was finally discovered to be a con.
http://www.countmyvoteutah.org/s/Constitutional-Memorandum-and-Letter-wso2.pdf

In a soon to be released counter brief it was discovered that Count My Vote / Buy My Vote based part of their argument on a minority opinion form the SCOTUS and not the majority opinion.  It shows that the Legal Brief put out by Count My Vote to be as flawed as the proposed law. Not only is the conflicting sections in Count My Vote going to give a judge pause and kick it back to the Utah Legislature to fix, and the 2% system obviously not treating candidates from different parties equally, but the whole premise of Count My Vote being able to stand up to the courts is flawed.

See:
http://fairelectionsutah.blogspot.com/2014/03/a-resolution-declaring-count-my-vote.html



3. 2014 SB 54 passed the Senate.

4. Protect Our Neighborhood Elections files a complaint with the Lt. Governor's office re: Count My Vote asking for signatures, perhaps even all to be thrown out.


from
http://fox13now.com/2014/02/21/complaint-claims-count-my-vote-collected-signatures-in-violation-of-the-law/


The complaint outlines four accusations, which include the following:
1 – Only one of eight corporate donors for Count My Vote has filed the required financial disclosures with the Lt. Governor’s Office.
2 – Washington County School District member emailed Count My Vote materials from a school email account during school hours.
3 – Count My Vote signature collectors have, on documented occasions, verbally misrepresented the nature of initiative, going so far as to completely lie about it.
4 – Count My Vote petitions were allegedly left unattended in public places, which could have allowed anyone to sign without first having their identity verified.
What did

Count My Vote do? They pulled in more money, this time from Sen. Orin Hatch, and they called in Mitt Romney, who likely was just acting at the request of Mike Leavitt.

It is in doubt that Mitt Romney is up to speed on the flaws of Count My Vote:

http://www.redstate.com/diary/fredccox/2013/11/07/perhaps-mitt-romney-should-be-blasting-count-my-vote-having-no-run-off/

Passed problems with 2014 SB 54
http://www.fredcox4utah.blogspot.com/2014/02/2014-sb-54-elections-amendments.html

Pirates or Just Cowards?
Count My Vote had their public hearings when the least number could come and even scheduled them during UEA and a Legislative Session.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/56992046-90/count-vote-group-public.html.csp


"They have scheduled four of their seven public statewide meetings at noon during the week with two of those during a special session of the Legislature," said Fred Cox, a former state representative and opponent of the Count My Vote movement. "They also scheduled two of the required regional public meetings during UEA (Utah Education Association), so they don't seem to want the UEA teachers or their invited parents to attend."


Their Press Conference tomorrow is during the State GOP Central Committee meeting so that none of the GOP Party Leaders could be there.

Count My Vote: a Lexus lane to the ballot for the rich and famous. Always has been. With the proposed compromise it is just more obvious.

Fair Elections in Utah. It matters. You can remove your signature using this process:

http://www.neighborhoodelection.org/faq


Thursday, February 20, 2014

2014 SB 54 Elections Amendments

2014 SB 54 Elections Amendments 

[update this is for Sub. 1 SB 54. Sub 2 has different requirements]

2014 SB 54 Elections Amendments, A proposal for the Utah Legislature to adopt Count My Vote, prior to knowing if they get enough signatures, and prior to a vote in November if they do. It provides exceptions, one of which would ruin the Same Day Ballot that the GOP is adding to increase participation for Neighborhood Caucus Election night.

Many citizens who attend their neighborhood elections and caucus meeting become interested in politics and get involved in their communities, the state and the nation. They meet and help candidates become elected. Some then later become candidates. This should be encouraged through education. SB 54, lines 796 to 800 ruins that and should be amended.  

Again, we need to amend it to allow greater participation by those that are new to the process. Delete lines 796 to 800. This will allow someone new to run the night of the meeting. We have and should have incentives to file and run for delegate or precinct chair prior to the meeting, but as drafted, the bill reduces participation.  

My letter to the Utah Republican State Central Committee:

Dear SCC members,
It is my opinion that if the proposed bill should be amended, particularly lines 796 to 800.
If not, the bill should not pass.
794 (b) permits members of the registered political party to vote for neighborhood
795 delegates remotely or by absentee ballot;
796 (c) accepts a vote cast remotely or by absentee ballot, under Subsection (12)(b), for a
797 period of not less than two days after the day on which:
798 (i) all delegate nominees of the registered political party have been identified; and
799 (ii) the name of each delegate nominee described in Subsection (12)(c)(i) is made
800 available to members of the registered political party;
The 2 day system in the bill for the caucus will ruin it.
You either can't find out that night who won any race, or
you have to file before you know who won.
Someone running for State Delete that night and losing and running for Prec. Chair or County Delegate if they lose goes away.
I have talked to Sen. Bramble last night [Tues. Feb. 4] about these concerns to no avail.
We, the SCC, have spent months coming up with a Same Day Ballot to solve the concerns and not ruin the meeting.
If not amended or deleted, lines 796 to 800 ruins the meeting.
See:
as well as:
We have made huge improvements for the 2014 Neighborhood Elections.
For some of these, see:
For purposed of reviewing Sen. Brambles 2014 SB 54 bill, and to allow the Count My Vote language to be put directly in statute with an exception to parties that qualify for the 4 items covered in the bill, I am willing to temporarily look past many of the flaws from the initiative, since they may not apply. See:
http://www.neighborhoodelection.org/flaws_in_count_my_vote_proposed_legislation


I am opposed to changing the system we have to allow unaffiliated voters to affiliate the day of election. It has proven to decrease cross voting during a primary and still allow individuals to vote. I believe that requirement, "allow unaffiliated voters to affiliate the day of election" could be part of SB 54 on lines 792 to 793.
As you know, I am not in favor of changing the threshold percentage to avoid a primary.
See:
I have no problem with electing alternate delegates, and we currently allow counties to do so.
If Lines 796 to 800, were modified to allow our Same Day Ballot to meet the requirements of lines 794 and 795,
we might have a bill to work with.
To replace the the threshold percentage item, the following items could be discussed:
legal notice requirements for caucus and convention and 
require election day affiliation for UAF so that law Isn't removed later. 
We could add voter info protection and 
remove straight party voting in the general. 
We could also fix the check a buck program so it comes out of the taxes of the person that checked the box instead of everyone else.

The final point is the bills timing. It is a big risk. See the critical dates from March 1st to May 15th.


Notice the bill would have to pass the legislature, both houses by March 13.
The Governor has until April 2 to sign or veto it.
The legislature has until May 12, to override a veto.

Count My Vote has until April 15 to get the signatures they need.
The county clerks have until May 1st to the 15th to verify the signatures and turn them in to the Lt. Gov. those that have requested to be removed.
The Lt. Gov. has until June 1st to decide if the number of signatures meets the law.

We do not know if between March 13th and April 15th if the number of signatures coming in will increase or decrease if the bill passes. It could either add fire to their initiative or crush it. It is a risky move. 

In a nutshell, 2014 SB 54 lines 796 to 800 must be amended or deleted before we even have something to discuss. (The 2 day requirement) it isn't the 48 hours it is the other requirements.

Fred C. Cox
Salt Lake County representative to the State Central Committee

Saturday, January 18, 2014

What is the Truth About Neighborhood Caucus Elections in Utah

All Utahns deserve the opportunity to understand the drastic changes that are being proposed to our election system and how these changes will impact YOU.  Count My Vote (CMV) is an initiative to change from our current Neighborhood Caucus Election system to a Direct Primary. One consequence of this would be to give big money and lobbyists a much more dominant role in Utah’s elections.

A diverse group of concerned volunteers from throughout the state has produced a presentation about the proposed changes.  Please take a minute to view the presentation  to better inform yourself about this issue and the consequences of enacting the proposed legislation.

Please share this information with those you know.  It is critical that people understand the ramifications of signing the Count My Vote petition, and that they know how to remove their signature if they have already signed it.

If you are interested in supporting this effort, please see the website below to volunteer your time or to make a donation.

Protect Our Neighborhood Elections 
http://www.neighborhoodelection.org/


Count My Vote and the Emperor's New Clothes

We have all heard the story of " The Emperor's New Clothes"


I have not spoken to anyone that has experience reading bills that have read the proposed "Count My Vote"  law that doesn't agree that the Legislature would have to fix it. They even admitted that.

It contradicts itself. I would have thought since they are spending over $3/4 Million on this they would have got a real "bill". 

http://fairelectionsutah.blogspot.com/2013/11/below-is-my-non-legal-analysis-of.html

 

The bunch of people that they had say the "bill" was constitutional, only said that based on one primary argument: Could the state force the parties to change their system based on the proposed "bill"?

They (Count My Vote) don't seem to want people to read it. Just sign it and vote on it later. The purpose of getting that many people to sign it is to make sure, since they are bypassing the legislature, that the "bill" gets vetted. We get ticked at congress if they don't read what they are voting on.

CMV intentionally made it hard for anyone to come to the public hearings, and almost no one would have come if we didn't invite them. They then had a chance to amend their proposed law and they didn't.

Now they hope some legislator can bail them out and change the law, but they can't back off because, I believe, they have told the education community that if CMV passes, they will use it to change the legislature so taxes are raised and education gets more money.

They have told others, I have heard, that CMV will allow certain candidates that "can't" win under the current system, to win, and those are helping to pull in the big bucks for them so their candidates get elected in 2016.

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 from the different parties 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?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Are you really believing Count My Vote?

A quick look at the Count My Vote website lists the following concerns about our current system: Outdated, Lower participation (voter turnout), Limited access, restrictive, can't come that night, can't vote, delegates are extreme and that is who the candidates and elected officials are held responsible to.


For some quick answers as to why you shouldn't sign their initiative, see:

http://fairelectionsutah.blogspot.com/2013/11/5-reason-not-to-sign-their-petion.html

For some more, lets look at a few of their claims:

Outdated, as in the constitution? The constitution was based on local participation of voters to make sure the government was accountable. Local townships with frequent votes were the norm. The Federal Government is now trying to run our lives and is working to take over what the State was supposed to do. Local Government is being ignored. We need more people involved and not less. CMV reduces local neighborhood involvement, not increases it.

They go back to the 1800's, but they forget that the system we have is a compromise after trying a better than CMV direct primary. 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.

They also ignore that Utah's 10 year trial with a direct primary was to get a Democratic State Senator President elected either to the US Senate or Governor. That worked. Who are we changing the system back to the 1940's for this time?

Voter turnout can be effected by the age of the voters, strength of one party over another, or the percentage of move-ins to the state. CMV and those that they quote, have assumed the lower turnout has been due to the threshold required to avoid a primary, (fewer primaries) but have ignored the other factors listed as even a possibility. Compare Utah to other states with a dominate political party and our voter turnout looks normal. If it was the number of primaries that was the reason, why did we have such a low turnout in 2013 with the City races? That had nothing to do with the caucus/convention system.

Limited access? If a person thinks a party is too much a barrier to get to a ballot, they can run directly in the general election as an unaffiliated with 300, 5% or 1000 signatures, depending on the size of the race. 300 for local or 1000 for states wide is the maximum. CMV sets that at 2% based on the party voters, and depending on the size of the race and the party, it can vary to as large as 13,000 signatures for all state races for the GOP or 1/90th of that for some other parties. It actually creates a larger barrier than we have now.

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.
See: http://fairelectionsutah.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-same-day-ballot-for-neighborhood.html


Extreme? There are differences between polls between delegates and non delegates. Sometimes it is because the delegates have taken the time to meet the official or candidate personally or have asked a typical question. For example according to a Dan Jones Poll leaked this week, current Utah State Delegates have a higher opinion of Gov. Herbert than the average Republican voters. Is that extreme? For 2012 they picked Gov. Herbert over Morgan Philpot, Mia Love over Carl Wimmer and almost picked Orrin Hatch over Dan Liljenquest as the nominee. States with direct primaries actually have had more problems with extreme candidates.

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

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Same Day Ballot for the Neighborhood Caucus Election Republican Meeting

The Same Day Ballot for the 2014 Neighborhood Caucus Election Republican Meeting

It started about a year ago with some at the Utah Republican State Central Committee (SCC) trying to figure how to grant an exception or maybe even a proxy vote for some that couldn't come to the  the Neighborhood Caucus Election Meeting.

The idea of a Proxy Vote was defeated, and it has taken many months to come up with a Same Day Ballot (SDB) system. It has many protections so it isn't a proxy vote. The person prints out their own ballot, which has a number to avoid copying it. They fill out their own ballot that day and put it in an envelope, seal it, and sign across the seal, so we know it wasn't someone else. They provide the ballot and copies of their state ID to whoever is bringing the ballot that allows those receiving it to check the signature and make sure the person is a registered voter in the precinct. The ID is given back to the person that brought in the ballot so we don't have issues with ID theft or party liability for the ID copies.

It was structured in such a way to allow the mom who was planning on coming to the neighborhood caucus election meeting, but her kids got sick to still vote, or the firefighter, for example, that had to work that night. We want people to come to the meeting, but things can come up that can't be controlled. The Same Day Ballot (SDB) is designed to not provide an incentive for people to avoid the meeting. The person that just had knee surgery that uses a SDB, is not likely to be able to come, and the SDB will actually increase the number participating and not decrease it.

Because the ID with the ballot was given outside the envelope, the party never gets control of it, and the person selected to deliver the ballot is going to be a spouse, family member or trusted friend. People will not give a copy of their ID to someone they don't know. That would make sure someone representing a campaign didn't try to abuse the system.

We added a pre-meeting before the Neighborhood Caucus Election Meeting from 6pm to 7pm and advance registration, to encourage, but not require, those wanting to run for delegate or precinct chair, etc. to let people know in advance so those that couldn't come would know who to vote for, and have time to call them up and ask questions. The SDB allows a write in vote, so if they know or want someone to be nominated that night, they can vote for them as well.

The next concern, which was discussed in Filmore, during the October 26th SCC meeting, was a limit as to how many of the Same Day Ballots could be brought in by one person.

Since we live in Utah, and we also have small rural towns, there are people that are trusted in each community that could pick up quite a number of the SDB. The proposal in Fillmore was to limit the number of SDB's a person could bring in to one (1). That was discussed and rejected. five (5) was a number discussed, but it wasn't approved either. We wanted to have a large enough number to make sure the mom or the firefighter could find someone to bring their SDB in, or if a family got sick, the voters in the household would turn in their votes, but small enough so as to not encourage abuse. On Saturday, Dec. 14th, the SCC decided three (3) was the best number for the limit of SDB's a person could bring in.

Some have raised concerns that the number 3 would be limiting. In the September 21st SCC meeting, a resolution titled "Resolution to Increase Voter Participation and Defend the Utah Neighborhood Election" passed the committee with no one voting against it, so the majority, and perhaps all the members of the SCC believe we want increased voter participation. We had over 110,000 voters come to the Republican Neighborhood Caucus Election Meeting, and we made improvements so that number can continue to increase. It has doubled and then doubled again. We don't know that we will have 250,000 voters show up in 2014, but we want to be as prepared for that as we can, and we want to hear more from those running at the same time.

It was made clear that the limit of 3 would not limit the number of firefighters that could participate, as they would each have family and friends that could deliver the ballot for them. It was also make clear that this limit would not apply to the Same Day Military & Mission Ballots that are sent to the precinct chair and vice chair. That had other protections to make sure we know who is voting.

Note, the approx. 180 committee members were elected by either state or county delegates which total 4000 (state) or approx. 10,000 (county), that were elected by over 110,000 registered Republican voters in 2012. Each county has at least 2 or more members.