Organizers of the "Count My Vote" petition say they're going to address the sticky "plurality issue" in their ballot initiative.
Critics of CMV say one of the failings of the idea is it's possible for a candidate to win the nomination without a majority of the vote. Indeed, that happened in the recent CD3 GOP primary where John Curtis prevailed with just 43%.
If CMV does decide to pull the trigger and re-launch their initiative, they plan to add a provision stating if a candidate does not reach 35% in a primary, the top two will advance to a vote-by-mail primary.
Count My Vote's Rich McKeown says that's something everybody should be able to live with.
"If you begin to think about it, the only time that's ever going to come into play is if there are 3 or more candidates," said McKeown. "The big part here is the 35% threshold seems to be fair and reasonable to everyone, and it shows a preponderance of opinion among voters."
McKeown says many other states also use the 35% threshold for determining the winner of a multi-candidate primary. Additionally, they're following a blueprint put forward by Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, in SB114 during the 2017 session, which also used the 35% mark to avoid a top-two runoff. Under Bramble's proposal, if no candidate got 35%, the runoff would be conducted by mail-in vote. McKeown said Bramble's idea was a good one, so they're simply copying it.
If CMV gets on the ballot in 2018 and passes, a direct primary would become the exclusive path for candidates to get on the ballot, eliminating the caucus/convention route. Recently, McKeown said the constant attacks on the SB54 compromise, which established a dual route to the ballot (both signature and convention), is the impetus for CMV mulling
There had been some discussion about possibly including a provision in the initiative to allow electronic signature gathering to put a candidate or initiative on the ballot, which has been prohibited by the Utah Legislature. State elections officials had asked CMV to consider including digital signature gathering as part of the initiative, but McKeown says there have only been "casual" discussions about that.
McKeown would not comment on whether a decision for relaunching the initiative was imminent, saying only that they are currently working with count and state election officials to see how the change would affect elections in Utah if it were to pass in 2018.