How does the system work? http://static.squarespace.com/static/5174c773e4 b047d367fa315f/5261c8efe4b0790ad9aa5764/ 5261c8f6e4b057da22c1502a/1382140156715/ Count%20My%20Vote%20Public%20Hearing %20Presentation_Page_05.jpg?format=1500 w
What’s wrong with caucuses? Having the caucuses on one evening limits the number of Utahns who can participate in the selection of delegates to the party conventions. Missionaries, servicemen and women, people working evening shifts, volunteer sports coaches and Scout leaders, single parents, and public safety personnel, are all unable to participate in party caucuses, and their voice is not heard.
Is that all? Very few Utahns participate in caucuses: All state party delegates from both major political parties = 0.3% of Utah’s voting age population. All Republican state delegates = 0.6% of Utah Republicans.
Is that a problem? Yes. Excluding large categories of people who would like to participate in choosing candidates to be on the ballot means that the small number of people who do regularly attend caucus meetings are not representative of the views and opinions of the rest of their political party.
Can you give me an example? Sure. In 2010, Dan Jones and Associates surveyed both Republican and Democratic delegates, and Republican, Democratic, and Unaffiliated voters. Each group was asked to rank and prioritize 22 items with the following question: “How important are the following for the State of Utah’s elected officials to address?”
And? The number four issue for Republican voters: “Improving the quality of education in kindergarten through 12 th grade” The number one issue for Democratic voters: “Improving the quality of education in kindergarten through 12 th grade”
Go on. The number one issue for Unaffiliated voters: “Improve the quality of education in kindergarten through 12 th grade” The number one issue for Democratic delegates: “Improve the quality of education in kindergarten through 12 th grade”
This is great. Improving public education is a high priority for everyone! Not so fast. We haven’t talked about Republican delegates yet. Their number one priority? “Protecting States’ Rights”
OK. Protecting states’ rights is important. So education is their 2 nd priority? Republican delegates second highest priority: “Creating a business-friendly economy.”
We need a business-friendly economy. So public education is their 3 rd priority? Nope. Republican delegates 3 rd priority: “Protecting gun rights”
Is improving public education their 4 th priority? Sorry. The fourth priority of Republican delegates: “Allowing mining and grazing on federal lands in Utah.”
I’m afraid to ask: what is their 5 th priority? The fifth priority of Republican delegates elected at the caucuses: “Preventing illegal immigration.”
Continue... Priority #6: “Increasing the number of quality jobs” Priority #7: “Decreasing taxes” Priority #8: “Decreasing state government spending” Priority #9: “Enhancing polices that plan for Utah’s growth.” Priority #10: “Reducing crime”
And? The 11 th priority of Republican delegates elected at the Republican party caucuses: “Improving the quality of educating in kindergarten through 12 th grade”
I’m beginning to see the problem - If improving public schools is the number one priority of Unaffiliated voters, Democratic voters and delegates, and the fourth highest priority for Republican voters, But only the 11 th priority of Republican delegates...
That was in 2010, though - Dan Jones repeated the survey in 2012 and asked the same questions to both delegates and active voters in both parties and of unaffiliated voters.
And? - Little changed. Increasing the number of quality of jobs and reducing crime cracked the top five priorities for Republican delegates. Improving the quality of public schools K-12 was the 6 th priority of Republican delegates
That’s better than 2010 - Yes, it is. But remember that most of the 85 Republican legislators were not elected by the more moderate delegates elected at neighborhood caucuses in March, 2012. And Republican delegates are still not in tune with the electorate
How’s that? When Dan Jones combined the responses of all active voters, Republicans, Democrats, and Unaffiliated voters, the combined no. 1 priority was: Improve the quality of education K-12
It’s all becoming clear: The less than 1% of Republicans who attend Republican party caucuses, don’t see eye to eye with most Utahns on the importance of improving public education in Utah.
What can I do? Glad you asked: You can: Sign the Count My Vote petition Take a Count My Vote petition around your school and ask your co-w0rkers to sign Sign up to collect signatures for Count My Vote And...
Last, but not least... Go to your party caucus in March, 2014
But I thought we were trying to do away with caucuses? Primary elections will not do away with party caucuses. Caucuses just won’t be used to pick the candidates on the ballot. And, if we get enough signatures, we won’t vote on the Count My Vote initiative until November, 2014.
So we’re stuck with caucuses this year? Afraid so. Getting enough signatures and passing the initiative next November will put the new primary election system in place in 2016. And, if we get enough signatures, we won’t vote on the Count My Vote initiative until November, 2014.
Remember, everyone’s vote should count, Not just the votes of 1% of the people who are able to go to one meeting on one particular night every two years.