Supporters of the Keep My Voice citizen initiative petition were able to pass a resolution in Saturday’s Utah Republican Party Central Committee authorizing KMV to gather signatures on their petitions in the March 20 Republican neighborhood caucuses.
However, state GOP Chairman Rob Anderson tells UtahPolicy.com that the state party doesn’t really have authority to demand from GOP precinct chairs that they, in fact, order that KMV representatives be given time to explain their petition and/or allow them to pass official signature packets around to be signed by attendees.
In any case, notes Anderson, two years ago around 98,000 folks attended the mass meetings.
(Some say more than that attended, but official rolls were not kept well, says Anderson, and since the GOP presidential primary was that evening – and Republicans could vote online – it remains unclear how many registered Republicans actually came to the caucus meetings.)
And since fewer than 98,000 may show up in this non-presidential year, it is unclear whether KMV supporters can get on caucus night anywhere near the 113,000 signatures.
Petition signature packets are due April 15 – giving the KMV folks less than four weeks after the caucus night to get the 113,000-plus signatures.
Of course, the KMV-backers have found a sugar daddy in Entrata executive Dave Bateman. Bateman has already promised to pay off the state party’s $400,000 legal debt over the party’s so far failed court challenges to SB54.
So if, after the caucus meetings, KMV needs to pay a signature-gathering firm $50,000 to $100,000 to finish up the final number of required signatures, maybe that can happen.
Still, the hardest signature-gathering requirement is getting 10 percent of registered voters in 26 of 29 state Senate districts.
That means getting signatures off of the Wasatch Front big-population areas.
Anderson told UtahPolicy.com that it has been the official policy of caucus-night gatherings for the whole state party platform be read out loud.
“But that isn’t done now,” said Anderson. “I don’t see the state party having the actual authority to demand that (KMV) officials be given time” to explain their petition and/or pass around an official petition to be signed.
“That will be up to the precinct chairs” that evening, he added.
There are 2,000-plus voter precincts in Utah. Some GOP precincts may have 100 or more attendees, but others may have only 10 or 20.
On average, you would need 57 signatures on KMV petitions coming out of each of the GOP precinct meetings to hit 113,000.
“I don’t think they can do it” on March 20, said Anderson. “But I guess we’ll see.”
And the Utah County GOP, said Anderson, recently reaffirmed a stand that no petitions will be presented at mass meetings there.
How that will be handled in one of the most Republican counties in Utah remains to be seen, Anderson said.
So, if you go to your neighborhood Republican mass meeting on the evening of March 20, you may well have some folks there asking you to sign the Keep My Voice petition.
Organizers of Count My Vote – the citizen initiative that is just the opposite of Keep My Voice – say if KMV is allowed to gather signatures at the neighborhood caucus meetings, they will send their signature gatherers as well.
“If Republicans allow signature gathering for one initiative at GOP caucus meetings, they should allow collecting signatures for any initiative,” says Count My Vote spokesperson Taylor Morgan. “Our GOP supporters are planning to gather at the caucuses, too.”
KMV wants just the delegate/convention route for candidates to win the GOP nomination, CMV wants the dual SB54 route – signatures, convention, or both at the same time.
CMV has been doing significant fund raising and has been collecting signatures with paid collectors for several months.
CMV officials say they will get the required 113,000 signatures and may have them before the mass meetings in March.