Salt Lake City, Utah- (ABC4 Utah) – An effort to eliminate the caucus-convention system, in favor of a primary election is resurfacing.
SB 54 was a compromise that provided a duel path to the primary, but some republicans refuse to give up the fight against it. That’s why Count My Vote is launching a new initiative.
The court fight over SB 54 continues to divide the Utah Republican Party.
In a letter, 53 members of the State Central Committee threatened action against Chairman Rob Anderson, if he drops the lawsuit.
“They have a sense of power and influence, which I think the perception is they have more power and influence as delegates than they would as individual voters,” said Tim Chambless, Associate Professor at the University of Utah.
Others believe the power of the masses shouldn’t lie with a few. In 2013, Count My Vote launched an initiative to eliminate the caucus-convention system for a straight primary.
Instead, a compromise was reached. SB 54 provided a signature path to the primary, while preserving the delegate role.
“We had tried to work, and had worked with the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, legislators and the governor, which passed with super majorities. And, then it’s been this relentless attack,” said Kirk Jowers, with Count My Vote.
Count My Vote plans to launch a new initiative. It will be similar to the one in 2013, with a few notable differences. It will lower the signature threshold for all candidates from 2% to 1.5%. And, it will create an automatic mail-in runoff for the top two candidates, if the top candidate fails to reach 35% of the vote.
Organizers say a few republicans have left them with no choice.
“You have a new party chair who made a sensible solution, and you know, the Central Committee said we’ll just fire you,” said Jowers.
This would potentially be the 5th ballot initiative for 2018. Initiatives have already been filed to raise taxes for education funding, to create an independent redistricting commission and to legalize medical marijuana. An initiative on Medicaid expansion is also in the works.
“Why we are seeing these initiative efforts, is because the public has frustration with the state legislature,” said Chambless.
The Count My Vote initiative will likely be filed next week.