Thursday, October 24, 2013

Why the Sudden Urgency to improve Neighborhood Elections

Why the urgency?

Count My Vote makes mistake after mistake. If they think we are voting on the changes to save their behind, they are wrong.   

Since the beginning of the year members of the republican state central committee have been working on trying to tweak the neighborhood caucus election system. A system that has worked well for years where 25,000 came, but the last two meetings it has doubled and then doubled again.

Count My Vote demanded changing the balance and getting rid of multiple round ballots, or changing the balance and taking the meeting out of the meeting. Creating a system that would favor the wealthy, the famous, incumbents and encourage people to stay home and watch Dancing with the Stars.

Of Course the demands were rejected. They still are. That doesn't mean reasonable changes can't be made and will.

The last central committee only one proposal was put on the agenda, one that didn't have a prayer to pass which was known in advance by most of the committee. The other consensus items were not even allowed on the agenda.

The reason for the "emergency" meeting is that those same people that have fought the Count My Vote people since they met in the Alta Club in May of 2010, that have wanted improvements to the system, have demanded the meeting, so we make the changes. If Count My Vote gets some of the issues solved at the same time, fine.

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.

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? in 1946, after almost 10 years of a direct primary with run off, the media and public demanded the return of the Caucus and Convention System to replace the need for a run off election.

Even the Deseret News in 1946 was specific that they didn't want to just eliminate the run off, as that would turn the power over to money. They wanted that every day people would vote at local meetings. That is what we have.

I am not afraid of Count My Vote.

They have made mistake after mistake. Ignoring those prior to the announcement, of their initiative, where they had 25 people stand behind a podium at the capitol and they couldn't figure out for an hour how to attach their sign.

They said they needed $1.5 Million. Then had to loan themselves $50,000 just to hit 1/3 of that. They filed an initiative, that even some of their strongest backers find poorly drafted, with rookie wording mistakes. I have read through over 1000 bills and voted on them. This isn't ready to become law, even if you agreed with it.

They schedule public meetings at noon during a special session of the legislature? In Provo and other locations they used slides that incorrectly calculated less than 60 delegates from all parties control the will of 3 Million.

There were over 110,000 caucus attendees in just the republican meetings alone in 2012 and there were tens of thousands of delegates elected. Yes the slides have now been updated to be more correct, sorta like closing the barn door after the horse has bolted. Both sets of slides are online. Look at the ones at the CMV website and the ones shown in Provo on the Lt. Gov. Website. The attendees at the meetings were given worse than spin. If you are going to try to sell your product, at least be honest.

It is going to cost taxpayers about $1,000,000 initially and $900,000 dollars every two years to replace what we have with the Count My Vote / Buy My Vote initiative. We get no run off Election. There is no limit to the number of candidates that could be on the ballot. 
 Count My Vote even missed their last filing deadline with the Lt. Governor as required by 20A-11-802 (1) (v)

I am just getting started in the mistakes Count My Vote has made. To be continued.