Herbert seemingly supports new Count My Vote initiative

GOP Gov. Gary Herbert tells UtahPolicy that he will not endorse nor oppose any of the proposed 2018 ballot propositions.

But then he went on to, well, seemingly endorse the revised Count My Vote petition.

Below is Herbert’s statement. You decide his intentions.

From Paul Edwards, Herbert’s chief deputy for communications:

“We are not taking an official position on ballot initiatives.

“That said, Governor Herbert, supported the original SB54 compromise because it preserved the caucus-convention system while providing an alternative path to the ballot.

“The governor also recognizes that SB54 itself requires some tweaks and modifications to deal with issues like plurality. And he has grown weary of the infighting created by SB54.

“Given the turmoil created by SB54, he thinks it is important and appropriate to have the voters decide whether they support what he thinks is a viable compromise and he appreciates that Count My Vote is working to put that choice to the citizens of Utah.”

Herbert signed into law following the 2014 Legislature the SB54 compromise between CMV and lawmakers.

He said recently that he would veto any attempt to repeal or gut SB54 by the 2018 Legislature.

In deciding, along with Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, the state’s official election officer, how a special 3rd Congressional District election process this year should be run, Herbert adopted the SB54 dual-path election.

So the governor has clearly favored a CMV process previously.

In its latest version, the CMV petition would have a dual-candidate path: Candidates could get 1 percent of the voters in the district (or statewide) to get on a party’s ballot, or they could go through the caucus/delegate/candidate route, or do both at the same time.

SB54 and the 2014 CMV did not deal with a plurality, should no one in a multi-candidate primary not get at least 50 percent of the vote.

The new CMV says that in a three-or-more primary field if no one in the primary election gets more than that 35 percent of the vote, there would be an all-mail-in runoff between the top two vote-getters.

If one or two of the candidates got more than 35 percent, the candidate with the most votes wins the primary, and there is no runoff.

So the plurality issue, if adopted by voters in 2018, is addressed in the new CMV.

There could be as many as five citizen initiative petitions on the November 2018 ballot.

Each petition must get 113,000 voter signatures statewide, with at least 10 percent of voters in 26 of 29 state Senate districts.

CMV backers say they have at least $1 million in pledges – the money used to collect the signatures and run a pro-CMV campaign before next year’s general election.

You can read the petitions on the Utah Elections Office website, here.