Monday, November 21, 2011

Bob Bernick's Notebook: Utah's Nominating System and Reforming the Electoral College

Daunting though the task may be, there does seem to be an avenue for bringing a more populist form of "democracy" to the Utah political nomination process

Interesting Bob Bernick Utah Pulse online morning column. Among other items, Bernick focuses on a recently published report from The Utah Foundation, a non-partisan public policy research organization, which "found that Utah stands alone among the 50 states in that a sitting officeholder can be removed from office by being denied his/her party’s nomination in a state or county party convention."

"In my long years as a political reporter in this state I had heard this before. But this is the first time I’ve seen the scholarly research that proves it," Bernick adds.

Noting two instances where relatively popular Utah incumbents (Olene Walker & Bob Bennett) were summarily given the old heave ho in recent GOP nominating conventions, Bernick muses about Utah’s "unique convention/primary candidate nomination process":
Still, it must be said, Utah is the only state where an incumbent – and certainly in the case of Walker, a very popular incumbent – can be removed from office by less than 3,000 state delegates. And that just does not seem right.
Click the link below to read what we'll label a "quite chewy" article:
And here's the really interesting part. Bernick reports that there's now a movement afoot to alter the rules regarding the nomination process in Utah, a movement which would avoid the predictable intransigence of the Utah Legislature altogether, and bring Utah into conformity with other "caucus/primary" nomination states through a more "grass roots" oriented means:
There is a group which labels themselves “mainstream conservatives” that are considering trying to provide an alternative route to the political party primary ballots.

The group, which includes UtahPolicy owner/publisher LaVarr Webb, former Gov. Mike Leavitt, and Hinckley Institute of Politics director Kirk Jowers, among others, is thinking of running a citizen initiative petition in 2012 which would allow a party member who gathers 2 percent of the voter signatures from the last general election to put his name on the primary ballot.

That petition route is used by other convention/primary states, as found in the Utah Foundation report.
Yeah, we know that enacting legislation through Utah's constitutionally guaranteed (yet legislatively emasculated) citizens initiative process is no easy chore. Nevertheless, opponents of school vouchers used the initiative process to enact one important piece of anti-crony-capitalist citizen legislation in 2007; and Utahns for Ethical Government 1n 2010 successfully gathered the requisite number of signatures to place their own grass roots legislation on the ballot in time for the 2012 election. Daunting though the task may be, there does seem to be an avenue for bringing a more populist form of "democracy" to the Utah political nomination process.

We'll be standing by. This one will be fun to watch.

So who wants to throw in their own 2¢?


althepal said...

Careful, Rudi.  In Utah, the term "democracy" is a dirty word.

Jack Sparrow said...

I like the idea of taking some of the power away from the "party" and putting it back in the hands of the people.

rudizink said...

Exactly right Jack!  Maybe it's also time to re-axamine our whole political system, wherein two Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-dum special interest groups, the Republican and Democratic parties dominate the whole discussion, and have the inside track to getting their candidates names on the ballot, to the exclusion of others who might otherwise breathe new breath into our otherwise stultified political system.

Just a thought.

blackrulon said...

So you are now saying that write in candidates are okay?

rudizink said...

Write-in candidates are not the issue as I see it, BR. 

I see two separate questions here

#1 Why should two political parties have the monopoly for nominating and electing candidates?  Here in Utah, where most voters are registered and politically independent, why shouldn't Utah voters have another avenue to express their candidate preferences other than through the corrupt "caucus system"?

"2 The boneheaded "two party system" is a complete anachronism in the 21st Century anyway, no?.

Why not make it a little easier for those candidates not blessed by the corrupt and self-serving political system to get their nanes on general election ballots?

blackrulon said...

I agree that we should eliminate the insider caucus system of choosing political candidates. A method for peop;e who meet certain criteria to be listed on a primary ballot without being listed under a political party is needed.

rudizink said...

So true, BR.  What we really need is a system that will break the "two party monopoly." 

Onewhovotes said...

What a concept: May the best person win!!!???

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