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UEG Endorses Count-My-Vote Initiative

December 11, 2013

Dear friends of ethics reform,

Utahns for Ethical Government today announced its support for the Count My Vote (CMV) Initiative Petition.

Knowing from experience how difficult it is to reach the required 102,000 signatures distributed across 26 of Utah’s 29 state Senate Districts, we encourage all those who supported our UEG ethics initiative to sign the Count My Vote initiative petition. For information on where to sign, go to the CMV website at www.countmyvoteutah.org

The purpose of the CMV Initiative is to encourage better participation by all registered voters in the selection of candidates to run for state and federal office. The direct primary system established in the CMV Initiative will accomplish this far better than the current caucus & party convention system that is outdated and exclusionary. Through Count My Vote, Utah’s citizens will have a greater voice in the political process.

Currently, our governors, attorneys general, county commissioners, members of Congress, U.S. Senators, state legislators—all our elected officials—are not really selected by most Utahns in November elections. That conventional view is wrong, according to David Irvine, UEG co-counsel. As Irvine puts it, “The real election—the one that currently counts—is whatever day in March the party insiders gather at places for 2 or 3 hours of caucuses, i.e., neighbor-inflicted litmus tests, to see if someone is sufficiently “right-thinking” to be selected as a convention delegate in a problematic caucus voting process.” He cautions: “To be perfectly blunt, the only Utahns our elected officials deeply, whole-heartedly need to care about are the relative handful of Utah voters who hold the literal power of life or death over political careers—the fewer than 1% of the voters who know enough about politics to become delegates at the archaic system of neighborhood caucuses and nominating conventions.”

Kim Burningham, UEG chair emeritus, states: “Why place the future of our state into the hands of fewer than 1% of the voters who have their own agendas? We should instead give the power of candidate nomination to all who want to vote in the Democratic and Republican primaries, respectively. Involving more voters will help to ensure that candidates attune their campaigns to a much broader voter base—one that puts voters as a whole back in charge of public policy.” Continuing, Kim adds: “We’ll get better policy decisions when candidates have to appeal to the broad majority, not a tiny slice. If Count My Vote passes, issues that the public cares about, such as ethics reform, air quality, and education should have a much better chance of being addressed in a positive way by our legislature and other elected officials.”

UEG also observes that other reforms are needed to encourage a more balanced political process and a more competitive two-party system that will help to keep elected officials honest and responsive to the public at large. An impartial, nonpartisan process for redistricting to reduce gerrymandering is at the top of our list. Examples of other reforms that are needed to enhance voter participation are statewide ethics reforms, a truly independent and empowered Ethics Commission, and consideration of online voting and election day registration. Count My Vote is an important beginning step in improving Utah’s electoral processes. Please give serious consideration to their initiative.

Sincerely,

Utahns for Ethical Government Executive Committee