Friday, April 12, 2013

Fair Elections the Most Important Principle

In Lavarr's email to the SCC, (See below) the most important item is what is missing. It is LaVarr's 4th principle, the one that surprised me when this was released last month, just prior to our other meeting, because I believe their proposals violate it:

"Fair. A system that provides inherent advantages to those who are incumbent, wealthy or famous is not acceptable."

If Fair Elections are no longer a principle of theirs, than the opposite could be true, in which case, I have no interest in keeping them happy.

Also, from Daily Policy today, the ultimate, you will not do what we want so we are really going to do it anyway.

"The Utah Republican Central Committee, meeting Saturday, apparently won’t even consider a change in convention candidate nomination rules that would address a major complaint by Utah voters: The ability of a few hundred state GOP delegates to drive relatively popular Republican incumbents from office."

"In short, even with a long list of possible candidate nomination changes, Utah GOP bosses would still be able to boot from office incumbents like former Sen. Bob Bennett (in 2010) and former Gov. Olene Walker (in 2004)."

Since these two didn't make even the top 2 candidates, the only proposal to change it is likely not to pass. We don't elect officials for life. This isn't the SCOTUS. They have no right to expect to remain in office if the voters don't agree, and it was the voters that elected the delegates in their neighborhoods.

This group has no advantage to turn in their initiative prior to the first couple of days of June of 2013, according to information I received from the Lt. Gov. office. They have to have their signatures all counted and approved at the county and state level in 316 days from the day they file, if I remember correctly, and prior to April 15, 2014. That is next year.

Fred C. Cox, Salt Lake County

*From: *"LaVarr Webb" 
*To: *"LaVarr Webb"
*Sent: *Friday, April 12, 2013 2:12:32 PM
*Subject: *Memo to Political Party Leaders


April 12, 2013

*From*:                    Count My Vote Executive Committee (Gov. Mike
Leavitt, Rich McKeown, Maura Carabello, Matt Sanderson, Kirk Jowers,
David Hansen, LaVarr Webb, Michael Shea)

*To*:                          Republican and Democratic party leaders

*Subject*:               Update and Statement of Principles

As you know, over the last several months our group, along with many
other Utahns, has been discussing Utah’s process for nominating
political party candidates with the goal of increasing voter participation.

The current caucus/convention nominating process has many excellent
qualities that we wish to retain. The system allows candidates who lack
fame, wealth, and incumbency to compete for a party’s nomination. We
also appreciate the valuable grassroots nature of the process, with
neighbors gathering to discuss political issues and candidates.

We believe, however, that substantive reforms are necessary to reverse
the current trend of low voter participation and to ensure good
governance and creation of good public policy.

We believe this matter to be of such high importance that we are in the
process of filing the proper paperwork and putting together a large,
statewide signature-gathering effort to place a proposal on the 2014
ballot allowing all voters to choose an alternative candidate nomination
process. Given the results of survey research and focus groups, we are
confident that such a proposal would be strongly supported by most Utah
leaders, and would be overwhelmingly approved by voters.

As part of this process, we have engaged in productive and good-faith
discussions with party leaders, and many party members. We are pleased
that party leaders have been open-minded, creative, and desirous of
increasing participation in the political process. We appreciate their
willingness to discuss, negotiate, and seek solutions.

Some time ago, we developed three important principles that continue to
guide our deliberations. We have concluded that if the political parties
are able to make internal reforms to fulfill these principles, we will
not need to move forward with the ballot measure.

Here are our expectations for fulfillment of these principles:

1.The nomination process must be inclusive, accessible, and allow
participation in the caucus phase by all voters.   A process that
requires individuals to attend a particular meeting at a particular
place at a particular time on a particular day excludes and
discriminates against those who may be away serving their country or
church, those who may be ill, those who may be required to work, or away
on business. Such a system is not acceptable. Fulfilling this principle
will require opening caucus participation over a longer period of time,
and providing an accessible method for votes to be cast by those who
cannot attend in person.

2.Primary election choices must be expanded so more voters have the
opportunity to determine a party’s ultimate nominees. This can be
achieved by: (a) raising the convention vote threshold to avoid a
primary election to between 70% and 80%; (b) certifying for the
primary-election ballot any candidate who receives over 20% or 25% of
the delegate vote on any ballot during the Convention; and (c)
eliminating multiple ballots. These modest changes would provide more
choices for the broader party membership in a primary election, which
will, in turn, boost Utah’s voter participation rate. While we encourage
the parties to consider all of these proposals, raising the threshold to
at least 70% is the minimum required to fulfill this principle.

3.Some degree of stability, consistency and permanence is necessary so
that changing political winds do not result in frequent changes to the
system. We recognize that nothing in politics is certain or lasts
forever, but we expect party leaders to work to implement long-term
internal or statutory solutions to provide stability and predictability.

Because of deadlines and the large amount of work involved in mounting a
signature petition drive to place a proposal on the 2014 ballot, we will
continue our ballot-measure preparations as we monitor the success of
the parties in adopting these reforms over the next several weeks. We
appreciate party members’ and leaders’ willingness to listen, analyze
and work with us.

*LaVarr Webb / *The Exoro Group

10 West 100 South #300 / Salt Lake City UT 84101
<>/ <>

[email address and mobile phone number deleted for privacy]

Two other of my blogs on this subject: