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Robert Bennett: Count My Vote: 'Let the process play out'

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  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 12:29 a.m.

    Count My Vote demanded taking the meeting out of the meeting, raising the threshold to avoid a primary, getting rid of multiple round balloting at conventions and making sure the changes were made in to law.

    Those changes were not made the way CMV wanted.

    However the concerns raised, about the fire fighter that couldn't get off work or the mom with the sick kids, changes were made. CMV has generally ignore those changes.

    Our Current System elected Mr. Bennett 3 times, more times than he said he would run.

    Under Count My Vote, the Unaffiliated would still not be able to vote in a GOP primary. Something they have forgot to tell most of those signing. Lines 305 to 308.

    I have issues with SB 54, but one thing it does do is something Count My Vote doesn't do and that is allow the Unaffiliated to vote in a GOP primary.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 12:34 a.m.

    At only one time for 10 years in Utah history did the state depart from the Neighborhood Election, Caucus and Convention System. In 1937, a powerful democratic state senator convinced enough of the legislature to switch to an open primary. He had had two losses, a US Senate race and also for governor, because the majority of the convention delegates disagreed with his legislative voting record. But he was well known and had money.

    Many at the time felt like an open primary was his ticket to the governorship, and he did win. But the change in the system only lasted for a decade. After public and media disillusionment, and even worse voter turnout, Utah restored the Caucus and Convention System. Why go back? in 1946, after almost 10 years of a direct primary with run off, the media and public demanded the return of the Caucus and Convention System to replace the need for a run off election.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 6:26 a.m.

    Obsession alert! Bailout Bob was unseated by the caucus system, and should not be regarded as an objective voice.

  • mohokat Ogden, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 8:11 a.m.

    @nate

    Don't forget Chris Cannon

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 24, 2014 10:29 a.m.

    According to a Deseret News news article, Count My Vote have been accused of misrepresenting the petition. In other words, some, perhaps many of those who signed the petition, signed it under false pretenses. Some were told that it was about schools. Some signed unattended petitions that had been left on counters. (Verification of signature is required.)

    Now every signature on that petition will have to be checked. Every person who signed will have to be contacted and asked how the petition was presented to them and whether anyone checked their I.D. before they signed.

    At the very least, Count My Vote will end up in court. It might be a good idea to start the process over, this time following the rules - exactly.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    Feb. 24, 2014 1:00 p.m.

    Mike,

    Key word is ACCUSED. There is no doubt that those who want to maintain the caucus system will use every available trick and strategy to try and prevent this from coming to a vote. Senator Bramble has already done that in the Utah State Legislature.

    Don't you think it is a little curious though that so many power brokers in the state are afraid to let the people vote on this initiative?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 24, 2014 2:19 p.m.

    Fred,

    Are you claiming that the Deseret News is corrupt, that it filed a false story, that it corrupted the facts?

    I don't agree with you. I trust the Deseret News.

  • Trey J Sandy, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 3:35 p.m.

    I don't care if Bob Bennett was voted out under the current system. He is absolutely right that the people have a right to decide. Let the process play out. If put to a vote, the current system would be defeated easily. The only people fighting desperately to keep it are party-insiders and their cronies (ie those who benefit from the consolidation of power the current system produces).

  • 1conservative WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 4:02 p.m.

    Does anyone know if the "buy my vote" signature gatherers are paid?

    2 different times I have been asked to sign their petition and they didn't look like the types of citizens you would usually see gathering signatures. NEITHER of these folks looked (or talked)like informed citizens who were supporting an issue.

    They didn't seem to know much about the issue either - but I didn't "press" them.

    I'm GLAD to see people working, but are they being pd. by the hour or the signature?

  • Informed Voter South Jordan, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 4:22 p.m.

    I am pleased Sen. Bennett was voted out. As a result the establishment, RINO folks want to get even by changing the system.

  • Web Geek Lehi, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 4:50 p.m.

    Trey, I'm no party insider. I've never been a delegate, and I don't hold any office in the state. I'm an average citizen. But I've actually read the CMV petition and 1) it doesn't do what they say it will do and 2) it creates more problems than it solves. Have you read it or are you relying on the media to tell you what it's about?

    The caucus system isn't perfect, but it's better than CMV. SB54 isn't perfect either, but it seems to me to be a good compromise.

  • bill in af American Fork, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 5:13 p.m.

    Senator Bennett is right. Let the process be completed without interference from the legislature. Count My Vote was only needed when the party refused to listen to legitimate concerns. I have been a delegate numerous times since 1988 and know the weakness in the process. I am one who took the petition around. Citizens need the opportunity to be listened to; not ignored. When Senator Bennett ran his last time, the moderate voice of the party was left out of the process and common citizens had their voice taken away by not being able to vote whether Senator Bennett should remain in office or not. Polls indicate that he would have made it through a primary election because the general citizens of the state still supported him. It was only the far right of the party that unseated him because he dared to be a statesman who could reach across the isle to get something done. Now we are stuck with Lee who has been a disaster.

  • wjalden Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 5:22 p.m.

    The rich and powerful did not respect the petition process when they overturned California's Prop 187, an immigration enforcement measure, back in 1994.

    They did not respect the petition process in Colorado when they kept an immigration enforcement measure from even getting on the ballot.

    And they are not respecting it now as they seek to overturn gay marriage bans passed in over 30 states.

    "Respect the process" - unless it's not in the best interests of the rich and powerful. Funny how that works.

    Count My Vote is being backed by all the richest, most powerful people in the state. They are not doing so for charitable reasons, and only a fool would assume they are.

  • wjalden Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 5:39 p.m.

    "Does anyone know if the 'buy my vote' signature gatherers are paid?"

    Yes, they are paid - probably by the signature. The result is that they will say and do anything to get you to sign the petition. One lady gathering signatures told me that the rich people controlled the current caucus-convention system and that CMV would change that. I asked her why all the rich people were backing it. She didn't have a clue.

  • i am hank Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 5:42 p.m.

    I am a registered Republican, I was not a delegate in 2010. I wanted to vote for Bob Bennett. I never got the chance. My voice was not heard because of the current system. I want the system changed, so I support Count My Vote.

    Our present system makes no sense. Why do we use the caucus system to nominate officials to every office, (local, state, and federal) in the land except for one -- President of the United States. For that office, we have a primary. Why do we use a primary for the most important office of all -- could it be that it is important that every voter has a say in whom the party nominates? I think so! So why don't we use the same logic for every other office?

  • pickmerg gunnison, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 6:58 p.m.

    Political Parties are private institutions. The only right way to change their make up is with members of their own parties. The government should not impose upon the parties through SB 54 or the ballot initiates. This is against the parties constitutional rights. Bennett would not support the Hatch Flag amendment because he believed it infringed upon ones freedom of speech and expression, but now it is ok to infringed upon the private parties rights.

  • David Centerville, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 8:15 p.m.

    I have been a county GOP delegate twice. I attend my caucus meeting every election cycle.

    I signed the County My Vote petition. The woman that brought the petition to me was not paid to do so. She is a concerned citizen that has lived in Davis County her entire life.

  • David Centerville, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 8:18 p.m.

    The legislature should allow the petition to proceed. If they pass legislation that nullifies the petition process I will exercise my vote, my feet, and my campaign contributions against any legislator that so votes.

  • JenicaJessen Riverton, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 9:44 p.m.

    Wjalden, you're badly misinformed. Count My Vote signature gatherers are overwhelmingly volunteers. The organization has a few full-time employees for administrative purposes and so forth, but the people actually out there with the booklets are not being paid. (Either that, or you're right, I've been lied for five months, and somebody owes me a few hundred bucks for the signatures I've collected so far... A kid asked me once if I could get him a summer job. I told him I could as long as he wasn't expecting the kind of job where you actually got paid.)

    And you're claiming that the rich and powerful that don't respect the petition process are the same rich and powerful supporting Count My Vote? Did I read that right?

    Mike Richards: The Deseret News has never reported that the signatures were invalid or that an investigation will be held. They reported that Protect Our Neighborhood Elections is claiming there are invalid signatures and that they have requested an investigation. Questioning PONE's motives and rationale isn't even close to the same thing as accusing DN of lying- drop the straw man attacks.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    Feb. 25, 2014 8:33 a.m.

    Mike,

    Not sure how you arrived at the idea that I was accusing the Deseret News of lying. The Deseret News reported the accusations against Count My Vote. My point was these are accusations, Protect Our Neighborhood Elections has not prevailed in a court of law, so at this point, they are doing nothing more than make accusations. But at the same time I certainly don't take everything I read in the Deseret News or any other publication as the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Most reasonable people would admit that any one "reporting the news" brings certain biases to the table.

    I have carried Count My Vote booklets and helped acquire signatures, and nobody has offered to pay me a dime. Having said that, what difference would it make if people were payed to collect signatures? Would that be the evil outside influence that the caucus crowd is so afraid of? If they are so afraid of outside influence, why not distance themselves from groups such as freedom works who spent significant money at the republican convention to influence caucus voters?

    Don't be so afraid of letting people vote on this Initiative.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 8:50 a.m.

    I respect the petition process. But many CMV petitioners are using deceptive practices to get people to sign their petition.

    As most people know... I'm not totally convinced CMV is an improvement. My wife was recently convinced by a very persuasive person at our local library to sign the petition. Later we talking about both sides... and she decided she didn't really want it, but hadn't understood what it was about.

    They really aren't informing people on the actual changes to the process that are being proposed. They only play on the emotions Americans rightly feel about their sacred right to vote.

    ===

    We do have the right to vote. We already have the right to vote (in the general election). But we do not have the right to pick the candidate a party we disagree with will support, fund, and campaign for in the general election.

    We should use our right to vote. Only ~50% of us actually vote in the general election. Only 6% voted in the most recent municipal primary. Start there IF you respect the right to vote.

    IMO party members should pick who they will support and campaign for. Not the opposition.

  • wjalden Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 8:55 a.m.

    "Wjalden, you're badly misinformed. Count My Vote signature gatherers are overwhelmingly volunteers."

    Not according to Bob Bernick's article at utahpolicy.com, and not according to the lady I asked yesterday at the library. Bernick wrote: "The money [raised for CMV] will be spent to hire professional petition signature gatherers and run a sophisticated ad campaign convincing voters to adopt the ballot initiative."

    UtahPolicy.com is owned by Lavarr Webb, who supports CMV. I doubt he would misrepresent CMV in a way that would make it look bad.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 10:14 a.m.

    Bob is still ticked off, and it shows. He should retire.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 10:52 a.m.

    I really don't see any result that would have changed drastically IF CMV rules were adopted earlier. Or any evidence any result will significant change in the future.

    Bob Bennett still would have lost (and he would lose again if he ran today).
    The Hatch election outcome would also not changed.
    Name one election you think WOULD have changed... And some evidence Please!

    ===

    I think the most significant variance illustrated in the whole episode was that the Convention put Lillianquist #1, and Lee #2 (Bennett #3) and the PEOPLE selected LEE #1 (in both the primary election and the general election).

    So much for the bleating from the CMV people that somebody stacked the caucuses and convention for Lee (hint, the convention gave Lee LESS support than the general public did).

    ===

    Hatch outspent his opponent by more than 10-to-1. He would have won that election if the convention were abolished or not as well. And he would win again under CMV rules (probably by a larger margin).

    ===

    CMV won't change anything. It just guarantees the candidate with the most money (and advertising) wins. Which already happens enough.

  • wjalden Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 11:22 a.m.

    "I really don't see any result that would have changed drastically IF CMV rules were adopted earlier...Name one election you think WOULD have changed."

    Bennett would have been re-elected in 2010, and Cannon probably would have won in 2008.

    Understand that Count My Vote *explicitly* bans runoff elections. Read the language of their amendment. Pg 18, lines 394-397: "Candidates...receiving the HIGHEST NUMBER OF VOTES cast for each office ARE NOMINATED by their registered political party for that office..."

    Why do they do this? Because the goal of CMV is *divide and conquer.* Lots of voters didn't like Cannon. Lots of voters didn't like Bennett. But agreement on who should replace either was far from unanimous. Had there been three or more candidates on the ballot in the Chaffetz v. Cannon race, the opposition to Cannon would have been split. Same for the opposition to Bennett. Incumbents have a huge advantage in terms of finances and name recognition. They may be unpopular, but if you split the opposition they will usually get the greatest number of votes.

    There is *no reason* for CMV to ban runoffs other than to protect incumbents.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 1:02 p.m.

    If the goal of CMV is to split the vote... I don't like it. Then the majority doesn't necessarily win. The vote split the least wins (which is often the minority).

    We experienced this at my caucus meeting.

    There were many vocal Hatch supporters there.

    They asked for volunteers to be delegates. Naturally a lot of Hatch supporters volunteered. There was only 1 who was totally against Hatch.

    We wrote our votes on papers and counted them. Surprisingly the lone Hatch detractor won.

    I spoke with the counters later and they said most people voted for the other guys, but there were so many of them those votes got divided by about 10, none of them getting enough votes to surpass the one anti-Hatch option (who's votes were consolidated). So the majority did not win (which is wrong).

    I found out later we were supposed to have a preliminary vote, and then vote again, only this time with only the top-2. This would have fixed the problem.

    We will have the same problem if we don't have a preliminary vote to get to the top-2 for the primary election.

  • Daniel84020 Draper, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 1:44 p.m.

    The great news here is that I must be rich and powerful because I am a staunch supporter of Count My Vote. My wife will be so thrilled to know!

    But seriously, we shouldn't attack the motives of those who disagree with us. We have no way of really knowing. It seems reasonable that as adults and fellow citizens we should be able to have a conversation about how to best select our public officials without accusing each other of being power hungry, corrupt, elite, or a dozen other things we can't really know or prove.

    Here are some things I do know:
    I gathered 40 signatures and was never paid a cent nor did I mislead anyone.
    I don't expect to gain from this in anyway except to have leaders who are a better representation of me.
    I and others I know have felt very disenfranchised with the caucus system.
    The law says that if we gathered enough signatures, we should be given a day at the polls.

  • Daniel84020 Draper, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 1:50 p.m.

    2 bits:

    If your wife had wanted to, she could have read the whole petition and proposed legislation. It's right there in every signature book. I don't think it should a signature collectors responsibility to inform her when she could've informed herself. As I collected signatures I was shocked and disappointed how few signed without reading what they were signing, but I didn't see it as my place to stop them or to make sure they talked to their spouse first.

    wjalden:

    The fact that CMV has significant money set aside for signature collectors does not mean that the majority of collectors aren't volunteers as you have implied.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 3:15 p.m.

    Daniel84020,
    She was with our 2 year old grandson. Do you think she's going to make him stand there while she reads the whole law?

    The guy said it was to restore her right to vote. Who's NOT going to sign THAT?

  • JenicaJessen Riverton, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 3:23 p.m.

    Wjalden, I said "overwhelmingly". Not "all, without exception." I have been gathering signatures for five months and have only ever met one worker who was being paid. Forgive me if I trust my own experience over what the lady at the library told you, or an article written a month before the drive even began that outlined CMV's potential problems and strategies.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 7:37 p.m.

    Politics is about the orderly acquisition of power. A lot of citizens think that showing up at the polls and voting is all that is required for citizenship in a republican democracy. I fear they are ignorant and altruistic in their outlook.

    I like the caucus system, most of the people are interested and informed, or at least interested enough to come and discuss issues. If you really care, put down the remote, join a political party and donate money, put campaign signs on your lawn and get into the process.

    I fear that we have a group of people who have tasted political power, and have a desire to control other people to meet their own agendas. The greatest obstacle to their goal is the caucus system that lets concerned and involved people choose delegates and candidates because they can't control the system.

    CMV will give us flashy ads, hand-picked candidates by king-makers and ignore the grass roots election process.

    Elections brings winners and losers, what gripes me is that people who lose and/or have finished their term of office can't retire to their own Mt. Vernon and let others take part.

  • ronk-sandy SANDY, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 4:39 p.m.

    I'm not a paid member for Count My Vote, just a regular citizen volunteer that feels that we are missing an opportunity to increase voter participation in the election process.

    Let the system play out. Encourage all your neighbors, co-workers and family to learn about this issue and let them make their own decision.

  • DavisMan Clearfield, UT
    March 1, 2014 2:42 p.m.

    Just about anything that will brake the "good ole boy" system we have now is ok with me. I fully believe we would not be stuck with the waste of space we now have in Washington if it wasn't for the present system. Orin would never have gotten re-elected if the votes of thinking people counted.