Some Utah legislators are starting to panic over Count My Vote, a grassroots effort that is trying to get 100,000-plus voters' signatures in order to get on the ballot this fall. If passed via an initiative vote, Utah's caucus system would be replaced by direct primaries.
Now, State Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, is trying to maneuver through the Legislature Senate Bill 54, which would take away the rights of Utahns to have primary votes, even if the Count My Vote initiative is passed. This is very cynical politics, even for Utah, and it should be stopped.
We will be keeping a close watch on our Top of Utah representatives. Our state's Constitution offers voters the opportunity to propose and pass initiatives.
If Count My Vote organizers achieve ballot status and win at the polls, legislative chicanery should not make the effort moot.
Sen. Bramble's bill allows the Count My Vote initiative to be nullified -- and caucuses restored -- if four reforms are made by parties. They are: Party primaries must include unaffiliated voters; voters who cannot attend a local caucus could vote via absentee ballot; delegates elected at caucuses could vote absentee or have a back-up delegate if a delegate could not be at a convention; and perhaps most importantly, the two leading candidates after convention votes would be required to go to a primary if a 65 percent delegate vote tally is not reached.
These are sensible reforms to the caucus system, and it's a real pity they were not proposed in the past. They might have fixed a very flawed system.
However, to have them proposed as a method to stop a grassroots effort to have primaries in Utah is appalling.
If SB54 is passed and signed, it should be as a reform measure implemented only if Count My Vote fails. In its current form, it stands as a liability to good government.