‘Count My Vote’ favors the well-connected

Dec 13 2013 - 11:46am

"Count my vote" seeks to overthrow the current caucus nomination system, replacing it with a new open state primary system. The proponents of Count My Vote have not stated how this is better or why the benefits to the citizens are better by adopting an open primary. The only main reason thus far is they believe that voter participation would increase. 

The question to ask is, at what expense for the people of that district? The open primary election for candidates will change the balance of power between the common citizens in that district and wealthy donors and special interests who desire to elect their candidate. This leads to democracy tyranny.

Under the current system ,3 percent to 8 percent of the registered voters participate in a caucus meeting and about 15 percent to 17 percent of voters actually participate in a primary election. Is not the sole purpose of the caucus to vote on candidates to represent them, the citizens of that district? Those citizens are surely involved in selecting the candidate who fits their views for their representation, with no special interests from the outside. 

How could an open primary elect a better candidate who truly represents the people? Especially, when the evidence is clear that most citizens vote for whoever promises them money/benefits from the treasury. What are the facts changing from the caucus system to an open primary? Will a candidate by an open primary truly represent the citizens in that district? 

In Federalist No. 10, by Madison, he offers a good discourse on representation as a safeguard against domestic faction and insurrection. Therein is a paragraph that sums up this very subject: "Complaints are everywhere heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens, equally the friends of public and private and personal liberties, that our governments are too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority. However anxiously, we may wish that these complaints had no foundation, the evidence of known facts will not permit us to deny that they are in some degree true."

Further, Madison states there are two great points of difference between a democracy and a republic. These are first, the delegation of the government, in the latter to a small number of citizens elected by the rest; secondly the greater number of citizens and greater sphere of country over which the latter, may be extended. Is this not the question the citizens of Utah must address regarding the caucus system versus an open primary to select the one to represent them? 

Madison then states the following: "The effect of the first difference is on one hand, to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations. Under such a regulation, it may well happen that the public voice, pronounced by the representative of the people, will be more consonant to the public good than if pronounced by the people themselves, convened for the purpose."  

An example of the above is in the election of Congressman Jason Chaffetz from the 3rd district and election of Senator Mike Lee. Thus, the open primary allows good citizens and newcomers without wealth to run and be elected to office.

The caucus is the only tool Utah citizens have to select candidates by the people and to challenge or remove career politician's from office. With the last few years we have seen little or no representation for the people but only representation for the special groups, the companies and the benefactors. 

Groups from political parties unite together for the purpose either to pass specific legislation/ laws or to help nominate and elect their candidate to positions of power. The election of candidate/candidates is/are beholden to the donors, to reward those groups who contributed to their successful election. 

An example are the groups who supported the President Obama's presidential campaign. These groups were rewarded in the Obamacare law with special benefits and exemptions for them and their constituents and even exempted some special groups and states from this law. Thus, not all states or citizens were treated equal under the law.

Do not assume that an open primary will give us better candidates who truly represent the people. Such candidates elected by an open primary will be beholden to those who gave them the means to be elected. Such persons may have different objectives than what the citizens of this election district desire and want.

Bowles and Madsen live in Brigham City. Madsen is a retired postman, Bowles a retired metallurgical engineer.

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