Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 6:07 PM
The compromise between Count My Vote initiative supporters and backers of the Utah Legislature’s Senate Bill 54 is a good deal and merits support. The compromise allows Utahns a fairly easy path to having primaries while retaining the iconic Utah caucus system.
The Count My Vote initiative would have replaced caucuses with primaries. SB54, sponsored by Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, was intended to loosen caucus rules and invalidate Count My Vote, even if the initiative had passed. We support the move to include primaries and easier access for residents into the political process. While we respect and admire those who take the time to attend every caucus meeting, there is concern that political factions have numbers and power at caucuses that do not reflect popular support,
Here are the main points of SB54, after the compromise:
• It allows candidates to bypass a caucus and get on a primary ballot if signatures are gathered: 28,000 for a statewide race; 7,000 for a U.S. House race; 2,000 for a state Senate race; and 1,000 for a state House race. There are smaller numbers required for various county elected offices.
• It allows voting by absentee ballot for caucuses.
• It allows unaffiliated voters to vote in primaries.
The compromise is a rare example of individuals with strong political disagreements getting together, talking things over, and making a deal. It doesn’t make everyone happy, but what compromise ever has?
We won’t be surprised if there are a few individuals who will never be satisfied unless they have every slice of the pie on this issue. The best way to defuse them is to have both houses of the Utah Legislature pass the compromise bill with strong majorities, and have Gov. Gary Herbert use his pen to make it law.
The inclusion of a primary option will charge Utah’s political batteries, providing an extra spark in the election process.
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