ST. GEORGE – The relaunched “Count My Vote” ballot initiative that seeks to alter how political candidates are chosen in Utah is coming to Cedar City Saturday for a public hearing.
The ballot initiative would replace the caucus-convention system used by the Democratic, Republican and other political parties in the state. In its place would be a signature-gathering system.
Those candidates able to gather a required number of signatures related to the office they seek are able to get on the primary election ballot. From there, voters would chose who advances to the general election.
The public hearing is set for 8 p.m. in the Sharwan Smith Student Center on the campus of Southern Utah University, 351 West University Blvd., in Cedar City.
Six other public hearings are being held across the state over Friday and Saturday.
The original Count My Vote campaign of 2013-14 never made it to the ballot due to a compromise struck in the Utah Legislature.
Commonly known as “Senate Bill 54,” the compromise legislation allows prospective candidates to gather signatures while also keeping the convention system intact.
- Candidates who go through the caucus-convention system meet with party delegates and are vetted by them before being dropped or advancing as the party’s chosen candidate for the general election during a party convention.
- Candidates that gather the needed signatures to be on the party’s primary ballot then join those who went through the caucus-convention system.
Since the law’s passing, some candidates have taken both paths to the ballot.
Though the Senate Bill 54 compromise halted the original Count My Vote initiative, it was officially relaunched Sept. 27 when filed with the lieutenant governor’s office for review.
Supporters of Count My Vote have said the caucus-convention system is too exclusionary and that the delegates involved do not necessarily represent the general views and will of the state’s residents. They also claim getting rid of the caucus-convention system will improve voter participation in elections.
“This issue has been debated publicly for many years, but now is the time for the people of Utah to decide,” Count My Vote supporters wrote in the initiative’s introductory letter to the lieutenant governor’s office.
If approved by state election officials in the lieutenant governor’s office, the Count My Vote initiative will be able to start collecting signatures.
It will need over 113,000 signatures from 26 of Utah’s 29 senate districts to get on the 2018 ballot.
- What: Count My Vote public hearing.
- When: Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, at 8 p.m.
- Where: Southern Utah University Sharwan Smith Student Center, 351 W. University Blvd., Cedar City.
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