Thursday, September 26, 2013

Changes to the 2014 Utah Republican Neighborhood Election Meeting

As you know from 2008 to 2010 neighborhood election meeting attendance doubled. From 2010 to 2012, meeting attendance doubled again. There is hope that in 2014, it will double again and 250,000 will attend. I know that The State GOP has a committee that is working to make sure we don't have the same growth problems for 2014 and that the system can handle the volume of those interested and still allow time to meet candidates and ask questions.

New proposals for 2014 include a better system for check in, including optional preregistration. The ability to optionally pre-file to run to represent your neighbors as well. The meeting will be designed to last for 2 hrs. or less, from 7pm to 9pm. There will be a pre-meeting from 6pm to 7pm to allow you to personally meet candidates to represent your neighborhood that have decided to run and for you to ask one on one questions. Even with large groups, changes to make sure members can agree on questions to ask neighborhood representative candidates with more time to hear from them.

I hope you will come again in 2014 and make the meeting better.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Fair Elections Utah Help us fight the Count My Vote or Buy My Vote initiative

Fair Elections Utah

We call upon Citizens of Utah , the Utah Legislature, and Political Parties in Utah  to protect the Utah Neighborhood Election, Caucus and Convention Candidate Nomination Process.

We have a system that that does NOT favor the incumbent, the wealthy or the famous. This is a good thing, and should be preserved.

The Neighborhood Election and Convention system in Utah is the best way to make sure a grassroots process can win over large amounts of money. It is the only way someone with $100,000 can go against someone with $2 million in election funds.

We want neighbors discussing the best candidates and finding ways to improve this state and the nation. If the system is changed, we would be dropping off votes, but not meeting and discussing candidates and issues. That is what is wrong with Washington, D.C. They don’t listen to each other in a meeting. They watch from their offices. We need to change that, not perpetuate it.

We already have a "bypass" system, filing as an unaffiliated candidate. A candidate can go straight to the general election ballot. Someone who doesn't think they can win if vetted by average citizens asking one on one questions can still run and spend their money. Why should they be a political party nominee if they are going to bypass their political party?

At only one time for 10 years in Utah’s history did the state depart from the Neighborhood Election, Caucus and Convention System. In 1937, a powerful democratic state senator convinced enough of the legislature to switch to an open primary. He had had two losses, a US Senate race and also for governor, because the majority of the convention delegates disagreed with his legislative voting record. But he was well known and had money.

Many at the time felt like an open primary was his ticket to the governorship, and he did win. But the change in the system only lasted for a decade. After public and media disillusionment, and even worse voter turnout, Utah restored the Caucus and Convention System. Why go back?

Our current problem with voter turnout is it has not kept up with the population increases. The voter turnout keeps going up but not as fast as the population. Some of that is the younger voters, where Utah has a larger percentage of them and they aren't, as a group, as involved. We need to educate those moving in and not understanding our system.

Many citizens who attend their neighborhood elections and caucus meeting become interested in politics and get involved in their communities, the state and the nation. They meet and help candidates become elected. Some then later become candidates. This should be encouraged through education.

The system and the experience attending the meetings can always be improved, but the “Count My Vote” initiative isn't the way to do it. Any changes to the system the political parties use to determine their nominees should be determined by the political parties.

Fair Elections Utah. Help us fight the "Count My Vote", or "Buy My Vote" initiative.