One Effort to Dynamite 'Count My Vote' Compromise Fails | Buzz Blog

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

One Effort to Dynamite 'Count My Vote' Compromise Fails

Posted By on February 24, 2015, 1:03 PM

  • Pin It
    Favorite
hill_raisers.jpg
Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday showcased their lackluster appetites for unwinding a 2014 compromise bill that preserved parts of Utah’s caucus and convention nominating system while thwarting a petition drive that seemed likely to upend it.

Some lawmakers, but primarily the Utah Republican Party, have challenged the compromise, known as Count My Vote, which was laid out in 2014 in Senate Bill 54. In addition to filing a federal lawsuit in December that challenged the bill, Republic Party leaders have said they don’t have time to comply with the law, which would go into effect in 2016.

To aid the party’s goals, and in the hopes of getting the bill tossed out altogether, Sen. Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, set out this legislative session to kill the compromise. One part of this effort involved delaying implementation of the new law until 2017. Jenkins said this would allow the Republican Party’s lawsuit to wind its way through the system while giving party leaders enough time to amend its bylaws to comply with the law.

Jenkins’ Senate Bill 43 would have accomplished this delay, but it died on the Senate floor on a 19 to 9 vote.

Count My Vote started out as a petition drive that aimed to unravel the caucus and convention electoral system through which the vast majority of Utah politicians must seek a path to the ballot. By winning the approval of those who attend the caucuses and conventions, candidates often avoid a primary election run-off.

Realizing the winds of change were blowing toward open primary elections, the Legislature in 2014 moved to preserve its cherished convention system, offering Count My Vote organizers a compromise that allows candidates who wish to bypass the caucus and convention system an alternative path to the ballot by collecting signatures.

Although many of the Republican lawmakers who supported SB54 have said they don’t much like it, it is still the law—a reality that surfaced during the floor debate.

Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, who helped negotiate the SB54 compromise, said he supports the caucus system and reiterated statements from the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, which enforces election laws, that the Republican Party can comply with the law.

“I respect the Republican Party, I am a Republican,” Bramble said. “I support the caucus/convention system. But as a Republican I also believe in obeying and sustaining the law. I believe in following the law.”

Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, said he voted in favor of SB54 because he wanted to preserve the caucus and convention system. He reminded Jenkins that had the compromise not been brokered, it appeared that Count My Vote had gathered enough signatures and had an armory of public support that would have gladly gone to the polls to obliterate the convention system altogether.

“I believe it was the right decision then and I believe it [is] the right decision now,” Weiler said, noting that if the Legislature backs out of its compromise, he would expect Count My Vote to double back on its effort. And, in the event that the compromise was tossed out, he said Count My Vote would be able to say that the Legislature “deceived” the public.

Weiler also took a jab at his party, saying he sat through a meeting shortly after last year’s legislative session where Republican Party leaders claimed to have a strategy on how to deal with the compromise.

“I’m afraid that standing up and saying they can’t comply with two years’ notice is part of that strategy,” Weiler said.

The failure of Jenkins’ bill puts another of his efforts, Senate Joint Resolution 2, in flux. This bill, through a constitutional amendment, would state that the rights of a political party to choose its candidates any way it pleases may not be infringed. If this bill passes, voters would have their say on it in 2016. Senate Bill 43 would have complimented SJR2 by delaying the onset of Count My Vote until after the 2016 election.

More on News

  • ‘A Long Way to Go’

    Biskupski awards three local trailblazers at Women’s Leadership Awards.
    • Mar 21, 2019
  • Anotha One

    The city’s mayoral race adds yet another candidate ahead of August primary.
    • Mar 20, 2019
  • Utah’s Bright and Shining Future

    SLC youth join thousands of students from around the world to demand action on climate change.
    • Mar 15, 2019
  • More News »

More by Colby Frazier

  • Fire Line

    UFA Board considers recouping bonuses paid to former chiefs and turning investigation over to law enforcement.
    • Jan 25, 2017
  • Home Sweet Home?

    How a single real estate deal highlights a city in flux and in crisis.
    • Jan 4, 2017
  • Dead Red

    That Utah could end up voting something other than Republican proved delusional.
    • Nov 9, 2016
  • More »

Latest in Buzz Blog

  • ‘A Long Way to Go’

    Biskupski awards three local trailblazers at Women’s Leadership Awards.
    • Mar 21, 2019
  • Anotha One

    The city’s mayoral race adds yet another candidate ahead of August primary.
    • Mar 20, 2019
  • Utah’s Bright and Shining Future

    SLC youth join thousands of students from around the world to demand action on climate change.
    • Mar 15, 2019
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

© 2019 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation