Fair Elections in Utah vs Count My Vote
“Count my Vote” or Buy my Vote?
One of the principles of those wanting to gut the neighborhood election caucus meeting and convention system we have in Utah, is this:
” A system that provides inherent advantages to those who are incumbent, wealthy or famous is not acceptable.” http://utahpolicy.com/view/full_story/21947725/article-Principles-for-an-Acceptable-Nomination-Process
I find this statement amazing, because I agree with it. The proposal to bypass the caucus system and also change the percentage to avoid a primary to 85%/15% will actually create “inherent advantages to those who are incumbent, wealthy or famous”. It is designed to do exactly what the supporters of this proposal state are against their principles.
If you are going to run as a democratic candidate, you have to comply with their rules. If you are going to run as a republican, you have to comply with their rules. If you want to run and not have those rules, you can run as an unaffiliated or independent, or run as a 3rd party candidate. This is an attempt to change the party rules by state law, bypassing the party and is even an attempt to change the law bypassing the legislature. That is called being a pirate.
There are 104 members in the Utah State Legislature. It contains both Democratic members and Republican members, liberal, moderate and conservative. It is simply amazing that not one of them were willing to run a bill to do what this group plans to do by a voter initiative. Why? It isn’t that all incumbents win under the current system. In fact there were 2 members of the Utah House that lost at convention this last election, a half dozen that lost in a primary election and 2 more than lost in a general election. There were others that decided not to run.
The current system does not protect the incumbent, wealthy or famous. Perhaps that is the problem this group is trying to solve.
The Caucus System in Utah is the best way to make sure grass roots movements can work over large amounts of money. It is the only way someone with $100,000 can go against someone with $2,000,000 in election funds.
There were about 120,000 republicans in Utah that went to the neighborhood caucus elections in 2012 to elect the 4000 State Delegates. Add to those numbers the democrats and the primary elections. Certainly the municipal elections didn’t do any better in voter representation.
Most people who want the caucus system changed, there are exceptions, are frustrated that they don’t have as much power as people who show up to the neighborhood election caucus meetings. It doesn’t take money; you just have to show up.
Bypassing the Caucus / Convention System will NOT create more participation. Approx. one out of every 4 or 5 republicans attended their neighborhood election caucus meeting this last year. One in every three told a KSL poll they were involved or attending. There are 4000 state delegates that spend countless hours vetting candidates to be on the ballot. They are selected by those that attend the neighborhood election caucus meeting. You just have to attend.
When people realize this will give them less of a chance to participate but give media and power brokers more power, they will not sign any initiative. This is a power grab. It doesn’t mean things can’t be better, but this isn’t the way to do it.
This proposal isn’t “Count my Vote” it is “Buy my Vote”, funded like a hostile corporate takeover by DC lobbyists acting like pirates. Don’t let them Buy your Vote, Keep the Caucus System.
Fred C. Cox