Utah Policy/KSL Insider Survey: Will Caucus Changes Stop ‘Count My Vote’?

Our political insiders think the minor changes the Utah GOP made to the caucus system won’t be enough to keep Utahns from signing the “Count My Vote” petitions. Our readers, on the other hand, aren’t so convinced.

Selected anonymous comments:

“The caucus system was never meant to operate in a market dominated by a single party and gerrymandered safe districts. It’s a complete joke of a system.”

“The changes actually increase the opportunity for voter fraud, do nothing to make primaries more common, and keep unaccountable delegates between Utahns and their elected officials.”

“It’s not even close to being enough. Too little too late.”

“I think citizens will still sign the petition but it might deflate the CMV folks enough that they don’t go work very hard to get the signatures.”

“The ‘Count My Vote’ initiative will get on the ballot and pass because the average Utah voter is lazy and not involved in the political process. I will be very sorry to see the caucus system go away as I have been a delegate at all three levels during the past 10 years – County, State and National – but sadly it will eventually go away.”

“The Utah Republican Party arrogantly rejected any changes whatsoever in at least three prior meetings. These changes come in reaction to the money already raised and the big names on board with CMV. They are too little, too late. The far right’s attempt to keep the threshold at 60% will backfire in a big way. The extremist candidates will not fare well in a direct primary system.”

“These changes were not minor. Same Day Balloting for those who cannot attend was a major change. Addressing needs to keep meeting times reasonable and under 2 hours no matter the precinct turnout is a very big deal. Going from paper only to a majority electronic methodology is also fairly significant.”

“It is going to cost taxpayers about $1,000,000 initially and $900,000 dollars every two years to replace what we have now with the Count My Vote / Buy My Vote initiative. We get no run off election. There is no limit to the number of candidates that could be on the ballot.”

“The ‘Count My Vote’ initiative was inevitable. The only change that had any potential for stopping it was for the parties to significantly raise the threshold to avoid a primary. That didn’t happen (probably should have) so we will see how the petition drive and (likely) referendum vote goes.”

“Too little too late would be an overstatement.”

“The fundamental flaws of the caucus system are not addressed. All the local and county meetings matter little in state-wide elections. Those going to the state conventions feel empowered to vote their conscience, and are anonymous enough, that the state convention vote represents those at the convention and not all the folks who have been involved in the caucus system up until then. Besides there are all the ex-official voters, party officials and elected officials, etc., that are not committed to represent any one but themselves. The caucus system really gives party elite the decision making power.”

“The caucus is a very difficult concept to explain, CMV has a distinct advantage by being able to offer a solution that appears simpler, less confusing, more accessible and fair.”

“This is a campaign. Too often campaigns aren’t about defining all aspects, giving the voters both sides. It’s about who comes up with the best rhetoric and sound bytes. This is basically a primary campaign. Citizens won’t read the petition. Very few understand it’s implications. Yet, one way or another every Utah citizen will be affected by this outcome.”

“C’mon. We’re talking about Utah Republicans…”

“Most Utah voters want to have a say in who the candidates are. The present system allows a small minority to ‘kidnap’ the process and leave the rest of us, unrepresented. We need the change.”

“This is simply window dressing. The resolutions they passed can easily be repealed at another emergency meeting like the one they were approved at.”

“Any well-funded effort with respected public figures behind it can get the signatures to get on the ballot. The real question is whether it will pass in the election. I hope it does, but it’s a bit early to guess.”

“‘Count My Vote’ is picking up steam because we are tired of seeing our elections highjacked by partisan zealots. Neighborhood caucuses are designed to keep normal people, whose lives don’t revolve around partisan machinations, excluded from the process. The minor changes don’t solve anything. Do we really want the crazy end-of-days conspiracy guy from Gospel Doctrine class picking all our leaders? Thats the kind of decision-making process the caucus system rewards.”

“We can only hope that voters are informed enough to not be swayed by the wealthy elitists who are trying to move to a system where they can more easily buy votes.”

“Your typical voter is not engaged enough to understand either system. When far less than half the voters will even show up for an election, it’s not because of the system in place. It’s because voters are lazy and apathetic.”

“It depends on how much the Count My Vote group want to spend in public advertising and in hiring people to ask for signatures. I don’t think the majority of Utahns really care or really understand this issue.”

“Citizens like being Republicans or Democrats. But they don’t like the parties. The more the parties fight against ‘Count My Vote,’ the more it wins.”

“The problems with the caucus system have nothing to do with the mechanics of the evening. The main problem has to do with the output: delegates’ political leanings are not typical of the average Republican. These changes will actually exacerbate that situation because they are asking people to ‘campaign’ for spots ahead of the caucus. Extremists will be the most likely to be willing to go out and campaign for the position. I also believe it will reduce even more the number of women elected as delegates.”

“The caucus supporters are running scared, but they’re not running smart. The recent cosmetic adjustments only make this archaic system even more confusing. It’s impossible to defend a system in which only 2% of voters essentially select Utah’s key political leaders.”

“Count My Vote, on the surface, looks and feels correct and even noble. Who wouldn’t want more people involved in selecting their party’s nominee? But if you think about it just a bit, although a direct primary would probably increase total involvement slightly, the majority of those additional votes will be based on name recognition and sound bites. That means big money will win. Doesn’t sound very democratic to me.”

“The changes might not be enough to stop the ballot initiative but but they’re likely enough to prevent its passage.”

Respondents include – 

Fred Adams, Stuart Adams, Jess Agraz, Scott Anderson, Laura Arellano, Patrice Arent, Bette Arial, Neil Ashdown, Bruce Baird, Heather Barney, Steve Barth, Jeff Bell, Tom Berggren, Mike Bertelsen, Ron Bigelow, Emily Bingham-Hollingshead, Rob Bishop, Laura Black, Nanci Bockelie, Charles Bradley, Jim Bradley, Ralph Brown, Chris Bleak, Curt Bramble, Joel Briscoe, Ralph Brown, Aaron Browning, Ken Bullock, Ric Cantrell, Maura Carabello, Marty Carpenter, Rebecca Chavez-Houck, Kay Christensen, David Clark, Kim Coleman, Peter Corroon, Tim Cosgrove, Fred Cox, Lew Cramer, Gene Davis, Richard Davis, Brad Daw, Alan Dayton, Margaret Dayton, Mike Deaver, Brad, Dee, Joseph Demma, Jake Dennis, Dan Deuel, Jeff Dixon, Brian Doughty, Carl Downing, Randy Dryer, Susan Duckworth, Donald Dunn, Alan Eastman, Becky Edwards, Scott Ericson, Chase Everton, Jessica Fawson, Janice Fisher, Wendy Fisher, Lorie Fowlke, Ronald Fox, Claire Francis, Ryan Frandsen, Adam Gardiner, Jordan Garn, Ernie Gamonal, Luke Garrott, Dave Gessel, Sheryl Ginsberg, Natalie Gochnour, Robert Grow, Karen Hale, David Hansen, Neil Hansen, Joe Hatch, Jeff Hartley, Dan Hauser, Lynn Hemmingway, Deidre Henderson, Neal Hendrickson, Casey Hill, Lyle Hillyard, Kory Holdaway, Randy Horiuchi, Ben Horsley, Bruce Hough, Scott Howell, Greg Hughes, Miriam Hyde, Allison Isom, Casey Jackson, Eric Jergensen, Mike Jerman, Jonathan Johnson, Michael Jolley, Gordon Jones, Leslie Jones, Pat Jones, Kirk Jowers, Jeremy Keele, Brian King, Scott Konopasek, Steve Kroes, Chris Kyler, Carter Livingston, Fred Lampropoulos, Clark Larsen, Douglas Larson, David Litvack, Larry Lunt, Matt Lyon, Ben McAdams, Daniel McCay, Gayle McKeachnie, JT Martin, Maryann Martindale, Jason Mathis, Bob Mayhew, Karen Mayne, Bret Milburn, Derek Miller, Rob Miller, Ethan Millard, Brett Millburn, Karen Morgan, Jeffery Morton, Mike Mower, Holly Mullen, Wayne Niederhauser, Mike Noel, Randy O’Hara, Ralph Okerlund, James Olsen, Val Oveson, Kelly Patterson, John Pearce, Helen Peters, Karen Peterson, Frank Pignanelli, Becky Pirente, Marie Poulson, Jason Powers, Tami Pyfer, Joe Pyrah, Mike Reberg, Jill Remington Love, Lauren Richards, Holly Richardson, Robin Riggs, James Roberts, Luz Robles, Ross Romero, Carol Sapp, Don Savage, Bryan Schott, Shauna Scott-Bellaccomo, Jay Seegmiller, Jennifer Seelig, Patrick Shea, Randy Shumway, Soren Simonsen, Jeremy Slaughter, Brendan Smith, Brian Somers, Carol Spackman-Moss, Robert Spendlove, Barbara Stallone, Howard Stephenson, David Stringfellow, Mike Styler, Shinika Sykes, Juliette Tennert, Gary Thorup, Kevin Van Tassell, Royce Van Tassel, Doug Thompson, Michael Waddoups, Laura Warburton, Chuck Warren, Christine Watkins, LaVarr Webb, Todd Weiler, Alan West, Mark Wheatley, Larry Wiley, Ted Wilson, Carl Wimmer, Mike Winder, Travis Wood, Thomas Wright, Crystal Young-Otterstrom

Results from the UtahPolicy.com/KSL Insider poll can be heard on KSL Radio every Friday and are published on Utah Policy.com every Monday.