Friday, May 24, 2013

Utah Caucus and Convention System History

When people realize this "Count My Vote initiative will give them less of a chance to participate but give media and power brokers more power, they will not sign any initiative. This is a power grab by Lobbyists, and those that want to run for office but don't believe they can win if vetted by average citizens asking one on one questions.

Perhaps you should realize that Utah was one of the early states to get rid of the Caucus System. We didn't like the results when we did and voter turnout went down. It appears we changed it to get a governor that wouldn't have won otherwise. It took less than 10 years for everyone to want the Caucus and Convention System or Mass Meetings back. 
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"

Who are we going to change our system for this time? The people, or some powerful candidate?

Utah has used neighborhood caucus and convention system since statehood in 1896, as did every other state at the time.  

Utah Governor Herbert B. Maw

At only one time in Utah’s history did the state depart for 10 years.  In 1937, a powerful State Senate President, Democrat Herbert Maw, convinced enough of his colleagues to switch to an open primary.  Some wonder if he had self-serving motives. 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 felt like an open Primary was the ticket to the governorship, and he did win.  But the Change in the system only lasted for a decade.  After disillusionment, Utah restored the Caucus and Convention System. See the Deseret News from 1946:

Today only seven states still have a caucus and convention system, but Utah is the only state that actually nominates the candidates in the convention that are placed on the ballot.  Other state conventions are endorsing conventions, but the party has little or no control over which candidate/s runs against its endorsed candidate and whether the others even represent the Party platform.

The current system does not protect the incumbent, wealthy or famous. I think that is a good thing.  

Historical research credit: Cherilyn Eagar