Leaders of the Count My Vote ballot initiative appeared with legislative leaders at a rare Sunday news conference to announce a compromise on the effort to replace Utah’s caucus-convention system for nominating political candidates.
The deal preserves the caucus system, but it also allows candidates to get on a primary election ballot by gathering voter signatures on a petition – from one thousand for a legislative seat to 28-thousand for a statewide office such as governor.
A bill that would force political parties in Utah to change the current caucus and primary system cleared a hurdle in a Senate committee on Friday. SB 54 would mandate that parties raise the threshold for office nominations to 65 percent of the delegate vote – up from 60 percent. It would force parties to allow absentee voting at neighborhood caucus meetings and state party conventions.
Republican Candidates vying to replace former Attorney General John Swallow, faced off in a debate on Wednesday night. They answered questions that came from across the state using the Utah Education Network’s video conferencing infrastructure.
Leaders of the Count My Vote initiative say they will continue to move forward with their efforts to replace the party caucuses with direct primaries even after state GOP delegates voted over the weekend to reform the current system.
Utah Republican Party chairman James Evans addressed the media today about inflammatory comments made by Salt Lake County GOP Chairman Chad Bennion. Evans’ comments come more than a week after Bennion first said that District Attorney Sim Gill might be a cop hater and then helped promote a rally aimed against him.
Last week Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill determined that two West Valley City detectives were not justified in their shooting of an unarmed woman. In response, the County’s GOP Chairman Chad Bennion offered some harsh criticism of Gill that isn’t sitting well with some.
Utah Republicans decided at their convention on Saturday to keep their system in place for choosing party nominees. A proposal to raise the percentage of votes needed to avoid a primary sparked heated debate about how best to give lesser-known candidates a fair shot.
The wife of LDS President Thomas Monson passes away, the University of Utah receives a grant to research child asthma, and some members of the Utah Republican party propose a change to the delegate system.
The increasing polarization of the political process in Utah and across the nation is the next issue identified by the Utah Foundation as part of its Utah Priorities Project. In their open-ended survey, voters ranked partisan politics the 8th most important concern.
A former president who also served for many years in Congress once said, “Truth is the glue that holds government together. Compromise is the oil that makes government go.” Over the past several years, it has seemed at times that government was pretty low on that oil -- about ready to seize up.