Michael Okerlund "Mike" Leavitt fighting against Fair Elections in Utah

At only one time for 10 years in Utah’s history did the state depart from the Neighborhood Election, Caucus and Convention System. In 1937, a powerful democratic state senator convinced enough of the legislature to switch to an open primary. He had had two losses, a US Senate race and also for governor, because the majority of the convention delegates disagreed with his legislative voting record. But he was well known and had money.

Many at the time felt like an open primary was his ticket to the governorship, and he did win. But the change in the system only lasted for a decade. After public and media disillusionment, and even worse voter turnout, Utah restored the Caucus and Convention System. Why go back? Even that system had a run off primary.

The bad proposal Michael Leavitt is loaning money to doesn’t even have a run off primary.The Utah Neighborhood Elections and Caucus System in Utah is the best way to make sure a grass roots process can work over large amounts of money.

When people realize this “Count My Vote initiative will give them less of a chance to participate but give media and power brokers more power, they will not sign any initiative. This is a power grab by Lobbyists, and those that want to run for office but don’t believe they can win if vetted by average citizens asking one on one questions.Count My Vote labels delegates people with extreme radical views. Delegates nominated John Huntsman Jr, twice, and Mike Leavitt 3 times. The Democrats selected Jim Matheson 6 times. Are all of these people extremists? Primaries in Nevada, Delaware, Missouri, and Indiana produced GOP candidates that were only vetted by special interests and not the people at large, in the last 4 years. The GOP lost all of those seats because of poor candidate preparation. Again, these were all primary states. Our neighborhood elections don’t create extremists. They fully vet candidates!

Neighborhood Elections force candidates to pay attention to rural areas of Utah. Direct primaries encourage candidates to ignore rural areas and communicate only by paid advertising. A direct primary would create fly-over areas of Utah that will rarely get to meet their candidates face to face. Our Neighborhood Elections benefit everyone in your area, whether they are registered with a party or not. Losing the voice of rural Utah with a direct primary would change our state forever.
Neighborhood Elections ensure that our elected officials are held accountable by individual citizens and not special interests. Only in Utah can we find a US Senator in a person’s living room answering questions from everyday people like your elected neighborhood representatives.We have a system that that does NOT favor the incumbent, the wealthy or the famous. This is a good thing, and should be preserved.

The Neighborhood Election and Convention system in Utah is the best way to make sure a grassroots process can win over large amounts of money. It is the only way someone with $100,000 can go against someone with $2 million in election funds.Our current problem with voter turnout is it has not kept up with the population increases. The voter turnout keeps going up but not as fast as the population. Some of that is the younger voters, where Utah has a larger percentage of them and they aren’t, as a group, as involved. We need to educate those moving in and not understanding our system.

Many citizens who attend their neighborhood elections and caucus meeting become interested in politics and get involved in their communities, the state and the nation. They meet and help candidates become elected. Some then later become candidates. This should be encouraged through education.

The system and the experience attending the meetings can always be improved, but the “Count My Vote” initiative isn’t the way to do it. Any changes to the system the political parties use to determine their nominees should be determined by the political parties.

Keep Fair Elections in Utah. Reject the Count My Vote initiative.