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My view: Count My Vote's five major flaws

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  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 3:26 a.m.

    Instead of voting for someone I hope represents me when they're in office, I'm supposed to vote for someone I hope represents me by voting for someone I hope represents me when they're in office? That's a good system?

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 8:28 a.m.

    Flaw 1 – vet candidates.

    A candidate cannot put together a cogent webpage with a section for questions? They cannot post answers to FAQs? straw argument

    Flaws 2 –
    candidates can snooker those who don’t get elected delegates. Thanks for your confidence in those who attend caucuses

    bright newcomer with a limited budget is on a more equal footing. So when they get to the general election and have a limited budget, they are a viable candidate? That is the epitome of arrogance to say just because they have (R) behind their name they will get elected even with no budget.

    Incumbent has no incentive to be accountable to his constituents? Really??

    your flaw(s) 2 are invalid.

    Flaw 3 – alternative options to get on the primary ballot.
    What’s wrong with more options on the primary ballot? another invalid flaw

    Flaw 4 – some are urging the GOP to open their primary to non-republicans.
    This is not part of CMV. Another invalid argument

    Flaw 5 – convenience is bad.
    You have no problem excluding police and firefighters, healthcare workers, and people who travel for their jobs? You only want the unemployed and idle?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 8:51 a.m.

    I personally don't think the most important thing is getting the one right person from your neighborhood as delegate. There are several dozen people in your neighborhood who could represent you plenty well, and in the end... ANY honest person is good enough (IMO).

    And picking delegates shouldn't be based only on how they would vote on ONE candidate, out of the hundreds of issues they will be vetting at convention.

    I think it's good that we get together and talk first (because I learn something). But in the end... it doesn't matter who gets to be the delegate. They could put all the names in a bowl and draw names... and the result at convention be approximately the same. Bennett would not have won.

    ===

    People forget, but Bennett was unpopular in Utah at the time (ALL incumbents were unpopular at the time). Many Utahns wanted to get rid of the politicians who went along with Bush and voted for TARP and raised our debt so much during the Bush era. Bushies were unpopular. Especially Bushies who act like Democrats (on skyrocketing government spending).

    That was Bennett's problem. Not some delegate conspiracy.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 9:10 a.m.

    I have no problem doing away with the convention system if it weren't for two things:

    1. If the argument were based on reality (instead of some conspiracy theory that all the delegates are dishonest and only vote based on their bribes).

    2. If more people who complaint that their individual vote doesn't count... actually showed up at party primaries they already have AND VOTE.

    In 2013 we had 6% turnout. If you really want your vote counted... show up and vote at the primary election you ALREADY HAVE!

    When we start getting decent turnout at party primaries... THEN it would make sense to turn it over to a pure popularity contest (based on what the majority saw on TV, or who their favorite news person supports, or who someone at church supports). At least it would show people are serious enough to actually show up and VOTE in their party primary (both parties).

    ===

    If you're a CMV protester, ask yourself honestly... who did I vote for in my party primary in 2013? If you can answer that... please post it. I'd LOVE to see if ANYONE here actually voted.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 9:16 a.m.

    In my not so humble opinion, we seem to forget that a party primary is for the party to select their candidate. If you are not a member of a political party, join one, form one - take your pick or wait until the general election to vote.

    Members of political parties usually donate money to their party, hang signs on their lawns, go door to door asking for donations for the party and distribute political flyers at election times.

    If you are not a member of a party, I strongly feel you have no business in the selection process of a party's candidate. In the general election you can vote for or against the candidate - that's when non-members of parties can and should vote.

    If all the "concerned citizens" who are so upset at the current state of affairs in the Utah GOP would affiliate and participate in the Democratic caucuses and primary system, run and support a candidate or two, support him or her in the primary and general elections, you would be in the majority and have had your say.

    The key here is participate and support, not sit home watching reality TV and griping.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 10:27 a.m.

    In an open primary, how do decent people of humble means get their names on the ballot and out to the public?

    To sum this up, caucuses allow the people to choose the candidates.

    Open primary would mean the party elites would choose which candidates they use party money to put on the ballot.

    Or

    Big money from any source (a rich person, a big corporation,) would choose the candidates.

    I think the people should get to choose their candidates. The real way to make your vote count is have caucuses and go to them.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 11:15 a.m.

    For those who think you can buy the election with a continental breakfast to get people to come hear what you have to say (and that constitutes a "bribe")...

    1. My business does it all the time at conventions (provide some food or something at your booth to get people to come hear your shpeal). That's not a "bribe".

    2. How would you buy the election (in a caucus system)?

    You would need people there to bribe every person at a caucus meeting (to insure your delegates get elected). There are thousands of caucus meetings, you would need people with money at each one. Impossible.

    You would need people with money at the convention going around bribing people. And no.. a breakfast is not enough to get most people to vote for someone they are against.

    In a primary system... all you need is $$$ to buy a good advertizing campaign on TV and radio.

    Which one is easier to buy with $$$???

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 11:23 a.m.

    @Strider
    Unless you live in a congressional district where the boundaries were intentionally drawn to marginalize your vote. I live in the Second District, where it was convienently drawn to include west Salt Lake, West Valley, South Davis(not weird yet) oh, and entire western half of the state. Because it makes sense for West Valley and SLC to have the same rep as St George and Kane County. Or because they want to neutralize the liberal vote.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 11:39 a.m.

    How well did the caucus system do for vetting our former Attorney General?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 13, 2014 11:47 a.m.

    With Count My Vote, who decides which candidates will be on the ballot? Hint: It's not the citizens of Utah.

    With Count My Vote, how many run-off elections will be held until one and only one candidate has the majority of votes from the Republican Party? Hint: None.

    With Count My Vote, who will vet the candidates? Who will compare their promises to what they've done in office, if they're an incumbent? Who will ask the citizens whom they want as a candidate? Hint: No one. The "good old boy" party elite will decide who is "Republican enough" to be on the ballot and who will be most likely to take their marching orders from the party elite, instead of representing the people or the State.

    Count My Vote is nothing more than a power grab by the "good old boys" who think that they have the right to run "politics" in Utah. The best thing that the Deseret News can do is to interview each of those "good old boys" who will be selecting candidates, and then tell us why the "good old boys" have the right to think for us.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 11:55 a.m.

    Badger, I hate to break it to you, but all the things you cite as dangers are alive and very well in the current caucus system.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 1:01 p.m.

    Mr. Richards,
    why do you discount the ability of individuals to vet candidates, especially for local elections where the candidates are more likely to be their neighbors? Candidates for wider eletions, US house, senate, governor, etc., are all pretty well known, having made a name for themselves within the party. Needing someone else to do something for you, ie, vett a candidate, is very much a liberal principal, not one I thought a conservative such as yourself would gravitate towards.

    opposition to CMV is nothing but an attempt by insiders to keep a strangle-hold onto power.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 13, 2014 2:40 p.m.

    Lost in DC,

    Your statement: "Candidates for wider elections,[sic] US house, senate, governor, etc., are all pretty well known, having made a name for themselves within the party." explains a lot.

    The purpose for a caucus is to give the UNKNOWN candidate equal opportunity to be on the ballot. Contrary to what some believe, we don't have royalty who tell us which candidates THEY want on the ballot. We, the people, decide. We elect a neighbor whose responsibility it is to get past the party royalty, to get past the glib statements of the incumbents, to get past the advertising dollars of those outside the State who want to select candidates for us. The delegate has the important responsibility to talk to each candidate running for office; to ask each candidate those questions that the people in his precinct wanted asked; to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    With 6% of the populace showing up at the primaries, just how informed do you think many of them are, particularly when you hear them ask, as they enter the polling place, "Tell me again who is running"?

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 3:31 p.m.

    The problem of poor government is the result of electing the wrong people to government.

    In this world the most important thing is money. And the way to obtain money is to control other people. Government is the only legitimate way to control people, so the object of people who would control other people want to be the government. Which probably includes just about everybody.

    We only allow people who have lots of money to be elected to be the government. So we have government by a very small segment of the population instead of the majority of people of a more democratic republic.

    If we would have better representation in our government we need to eliminate money from the activity of choosing and electing candidates.

    One of the ways to do that would be to eliminate the political campaign and make it a crime to have business motives in government.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 4:36 p.m.

    When a person votes in an election, no matter how many people he represents, he will vote according to his own conscience. And the people he represents have no control over his conscience or the things that might effect his conscience.

    Bribes? Just about everything that a person sees, hears and experiences influences a person's psyche. In the case of food at a convention booth, a tasty donut would have about the same effect as a dollar bill. And you don't have to buy their vote, you just have to have them listen to your propaganda.

  • let's roll LEHI, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 4:37 p.m.

    You lost me at "grass roots."

    Hard to ascribe any rational or logical thought to an argument that repeatedly claims that a system where voters choose someone to choose someone that those original voters can then vote for is a more "grass roots" system then allowing each voter to choose for themselves.

    Nor do I see the logic in letting someone other than myself vet the candidates. There's little difficulty in the digital age in finding out what candidates are saying on the issues. And what they say "on the record" for a mass audience carries more of an opportunity for accountability than what someone may say in a F2F with a single delegate.

    As far as eliminating the opportunity for lesser known candidates. I submit that any candidate with a truly original thought or idea would quickly differentiate themselves and gain name recognition over the large pack of candidates tripping over themselves to parrot what they believe to be the learnings from the latest opinion, not voting, polls.

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 9:14 p.m.

    For what it's worth, I was chosen as a county and state delegate at the most recent caucuses, and at the conventions I voted for the candidates and issues exactly according to my preferences. If I had known that 95 percent of the party members in my area had wanted me to vote differently on a particular candidate or issue, I would have ignored them. That's how most delegates operate. Caucuses represent the preferences of the few who attend them.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Feb. 14, 2014 9:52 a.m.

    The caucus format needs to go. I as a voter can decide who I want to vote for in the primary among the candidates running. I do not need to vote for some neighbor who will "vet" the candidates, I can do that in the primary.

    What about the elite only running? Well most of the legislators we have now are part of the elite or married to someone who is. Any one could still win in an open primary.

    As far as candidates listening to us. Do legislators listen to us now? How many citizens want the prison to be moved? It's not a majority. How many people want cleaner air? Do our legislators do anything about it? Not really. What about education? The list can on and on.

    Finally, in an open primary candidates wouldn't be terrified of Gayle Ruzicka.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 14, 2014 10:59 a.m.

    Why elect Representatives or Senators when so many citizens think that they have been empowered to vote directly instead of being part of a Democratic Republic? It takes a lot of arrogance for someone to think that he is so special that the rules of a Democratic Republic are too "lame" for him, to think that the nominating process should be eliminated, to think that party "big wigs" should select candidates for him, to think that he and all other citizens have the time, the skill, and the opportunity to "vet" each of the candidates.

    No wonder politics are such a mess. With people like that, we can clearly see why the people in office were elected. Those with a big enough budget to gain name recognition bought their way into office because all of the puffed up voters who demand a change never took the time to vote, or if they did vote, they didn't take the time to "vet" the candidates.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Feb. 14, 2014 5:49 p.m.

    @mike richards. The pray big wigs would not select who runs. Why should I vote for someone to vet a candidate for me? The voters can decide who they like in the primary and then in the general election.

    I think most caucus supporters fear they will no longer get to be the puppet master. They fear candidates who are moderate and independent thinkers.

  • AllSeeingEye Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 14, 2014 10:05 p.m.

    The current caucus system promotes government of the few, by the few, and for the few.

    It results in the election of candidates outside the mainstream. How else to explain the ouster of a trusted conservative like Bob Bennett? Utah is the only state in the union where an incumbent senator who has done nothing wrong could be removed from office without a vote of the people.

    Of course the minority of far right-wing folks don't want the people to vote on candidates in primaries. That would lessen their ability to put into office candidates who share their views, whether or not those views are majority views. They will make whatever arguments they can to try to hold onto a system that allows them to keep the power in the hands of the minority.

    Our representative democracy does not require such a system and is not well served by it.

    Let the people decide who should represent them--one person, one vote.

  • G Larsen Kearns, UT
    Feb. 15, 2014 10:36 a.m.

    A minor clarification: “Count My Vote's five major flaws” is a great title, but is not what I suggested when I wrote this piece. Instead this title was chosen by the editors. I don’t claim that all five points are directly linked to CMV. But CMV is leading the pack in its efforts to undermine the caucus/convention process. If they get their way, Utah will be worse off, and each voter will have less of a voice. The caucus/convention system works just fine, and we should keep it.

  • Utefan60 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 16, 2014 4:34 p.m.

    I still can not understand why letting people vote for their elected officials is wrong. The caucus system isn't allowing the will of the majority of people. It is allowing people like Mike Lee to get in and win just because he has an R next to his name. Even his party isn't happy with him. Bob Bennett was a moderate who time and time again has had the majority of the publics votes. Somehow that system was hijacked. The caucus candidates didn't represent the true Utah voter. Mike Richards can say all he wants but the voters didn't get the chance to allow their individual votes to count. The caucus system is way overdue to be scrapped.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Feb. 17, 2014 9:31 a.m.

    2 bits, I voted for Sean Reyes for Attorney General in the convention, and again in the Primary election. I was a cop and never in my years as a police officer did I miss a Mass Meeting/Party Caucus. So that arguement is flawed from Lost in DC. The only time since 1976 I've missed a Caucus was when I was in Texas on my mission.

    If people don't want to go to the caucus then that is just too bad for them. It is they that miss out. They are the same people who don't vote. I have no sympathy for them.

    The Count My Vote initiative is nothing more than revenge over what happened to their poster boy Bob Bennett.

  • Mary E Petty Sandy, UT
    Feb. 17, 2014 6:01 p.m.

    #1 - USA is a Republic, not a democracy. (See Founding Documents)

    #2 - We have representative form of government at all levels, starting with party caucus on through local, state and federal party-specific vetted candidates being voted into office by their respective districts. (See Utah/Federal Election Laws)

    #3 - Most elections in the USA are partisan with candidates chosen starting at the grassroots level in neighborhood party caucus on through their respective party conventions. (You must be a member of a party to vote in this candidate selection process - Attend opposing party caucus – it’s very enlightening to see other half in action.)

    #4 - The caucus system is local grassroots voting for a representative (delegate) just as a Congressional Delegation is representative at the federal level of the voters in their individual districts. (Attend your local caucus and see how your vote really counts)

    #5 - Count My Vote (Count My Vote Less) = is not grassroots politics. CVM it is the big money interests of the few using the power of media to influence the many through sound-bite politics. (See what happens to grassroots involvement in the candidate selection process in states like Illinois who use direct primary elections.)

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 3:50 p.m.

    Let's face it; your vote will not get counted, if you don't vote - whether at the polls or at the caucus. Ah, yes, the caucus : that is where you are going to meet someone you should actually know - your neighbor. You can vote for your neighbor to represent you, or could get them to vote for you. This is where representative democracy is up close and personal. Not the bumper stickers and flyers and spot ads variety. Keep the caucus. Be really involved.