If our "Political Insiders" are right, then the caucus/convention system for nominating candidates is rapidly heading towards its demise.
Our panel of Republican and Democratic Insiders, as well as our readers, say if Count My Vote can get on the 2018 ballot, it voters will likely pass the measure, thus killing the antiquated caucus system.
Count My Vote will refile their petition initiative early this week, starting the effort to make signature gathering and direct primaries the only way to win a party nomination.
82% of the Republicans on our panel, as well as 100% of Democrats and 65% of our readers, think Count My Vote will pass if backers can gather the approximately 113,000 signatures needed to put the issue to voters next year.
Certainly, polling backs that up. The most recent UtahPolicy.com survey finds that 55% of Utah voters support eliminating the caucus/convention system in favor of direct primary elections.
Count My Vote backers say the constant attacks on the SB54 compromise by Republicans is the reason they decided to move forward with their initiative this year.
SB54 provided for candidates to take either the caucus/convention route, gather signatures to get on the ballot or use both systems. Provo Mayor John Curtis won this August's GOP primary in the 3rd Congressional District special election after taking both the caucus/convention and signature gathering routes. He was eliminated at the GOP convention but kept his campaign alive through signature gathering.
Selected anonymous comments:
The Politburo that is the state central committee has outlived its utility, long ago becoming a political anachronism filled with empty-headed, power hungry, self-serving zealots masquerading under a banner of constitutionalism and religious piety. Let CMV do its work and help usher in a new era of statesmanship, comity, and civility.
Convention Caucus has been " dead man walking" for several years, it just didn't know it yet. Quick, hand me the last few nails for the coffin.
It won't be close. The GOP State Central Committee will get exactly what it wants - a chance for the people to decide how important the caucus system isn't.
CMV should never have negotiated with the legislature. They can't be trusted. Pass it this time and be done with the caucuses!
The caucus system as we know it is done, brought down by those who are the most vocal in its support.
It appears that there is an ever-growing base of independent voters who want a greater voice in the selection of candidates.
It is beyond time to end the joke caucus/convention system. We no longer need to delegate our votes to the craziest people in our neighborhoods.
Voters will approve CMV because big money always wins.
Considering the amount of money the rich and elite are willing to spend to make sure they can control the system they will do whatever it takes to make it pass.
Republican hardliners with their no-compromise determination are shooting themselves in the foot. They didn't realize a good compromise when they had it.
The Utah Republican Party far-right has so screwed up this issue that we will end up with a primary. When we lose our caucus, we will have them to thank. Having them pull that stunt at the State Convention that only one candidate would move forward, sealed the deal. It showed that conventions couldn't be trusted. Every vote counts.
My gut instinct is that the complete takeaway might be seen as too far and voters will suspiciously reject it.
The State Central Committee reminds me of Japanese soldiers who kept fighting for years and years after the end of World War 2, refusing to believe that they lost the war. Sorry folks. You lost the war.
I'll oppose it, though a majority follow the media herd.
The public is sick of the right-wing wackos controlling the GOP.
With so many high-profile, expensive and controversial topics on the 2018 ballot, the most likely outcome will be for voters to say, "A pox on all their houses!", and reject them all.
If the Grand Old Party wants to stay "Grand," they need to expand past a few hundred in the Central Committee to get more voter investment in candidates.
Why would Utah voters stick with an antiquated system that rewards insiders and punishes outsiders? This ballot initiative will succeed, just as the last one would have.
Voters have shown that the delegates don't accurately represent their views or interests. They will gladly welcome reducing the arch-conservative delegates' power.
The convention system has filled our party with a group of 'Tea Party' adherents that throw compromise out and act like children.
The original Count My Vote initiative should and would have passed in the first place. But to all our detriment, the initiative was negotiated away. The Utah Republican Party leadership doesn't have the common sense to leave it alone, and the new Party Chair's head may end up on a pike outside party headquarters. Some legislators loathe everything about the initiative and the so-called compromise because it might take some feathers from their comfortable nests. Now it is time for the electorate of the State of Utah to speak and straighten this mess out.
Utah Republican insiders killed the caucus/convention system by taking a hard stance instead of addressing the concerns of our own voters. Every time we had a chance to make the caucus/convention system more appealing, we instead made it more exclusive. When the system is dead, we will probably blame everyone but ourselves. The same willful blindness that caused the problem will prevent us from seeing our guilt in it.
Voters are generally pleased that there is an alternative path to the ballot, I'm not sure they'll want that alternative to become the only path to the ballot.
The large number of ballot initiatives are going to make it difficult for all of them to get enough signatures to get on the ballot, and even more difficult to convince the voters the sky is falling and they should vote to change EVERYTHING in Utah.
Fortunately, Utahns as a whole - no matter whether they are Republicans, Democrats, or independents - want their elections to be fair and Count My Vote, and the anti-gerrymandering initiative also underway will help accomplish exactly that.
Voters will approve CMV overwhelmingly, and it cannot come soon enough. The insanity that has become the Utah Republican Party must end.
As a former signature gatherer and supporter of the original Count My Vote, I say, "It's about time the people took back their right to choose their candidates!"
I am glad CMV is relaunching the ballot initiative. Time for the 95% to wrest our legislature from the 5% who control the caucus system.
Under Buy My Vote's method, only the rich and famous need apply to run for office. It is very unfortunate that the average voter is so easily swayed by how many TV commercials they see for a candidate.
Let's end the madness and move into the 21st century. Let's pass Count My Vote!
The 3rd Congressional District primary is evidence enough that the convention system does represent the electorate.
Chris Herrod was the final nail in the caucus/convention coffin. And that's good because it hasn't served us well for years.
The chuckleheads in the legislature will ensure this initiative passes. They are not willing to listen to the voice of the people. This is the only way to effect positive change.
It will be a brutal campaign, but in the end, the initiative will pass with at least 54%. This assumes that the initiative is well-drafted and does not have technical problems that can be used by those opposed to it to convince the voters to shy away.
Passage by the legislature of the SB54 compromise, which was subsequently challenged by the state GOP and legislative members as well, left the public with a bad taste in their mouth. It appeared as if the legislature and GOP negotiated in bad faith to derail the initiative with the intention of reneging as soon as the initiative was dropped. It is a shame that they failed to realize the full level of angst the general public has toward the electoral process. They have only themselves to blame for a more restrictive initiative movement that will not end in compromise.
The compromise was good I think. The caucus and the good that existed--informed voters, etc.--still existed, and convention-approved nominees could make the case about the importance of that route. Signature-gathering nominees could make the case that it was not important. I like the split path more than either by itself. The voters themselves decide if the convention approval is important. I think that Count My Vote should have waited to restart the initiative until if and when the legislature made changes. Now it will pass, and the caucus supporters have just shot themselves in the foot with their refusal to accept a positive compromise.
The two parties are under the control of their extreme bases, and the delegates don't reflect the typical voter. It is time to end this antiquated system with one that represents the will of the people.