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

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".


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:

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.

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.