Count My Vote deal may open up route to Utah primary elections

Utah State Capitol

SALT LAKE CITY — Representatives of Utah’s Count My Vote initiative reached a compromise with legislators, and on the morning of March 3, an amended bill passed out of a packed committee meeting, paving the way for some primary elections in Utah.

The SB54 substitute, sponsored by Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, would force a primary election under certain circumstances and potentially add a third route for candidates to be able to compete in primary election in Utah.

Candidates looking to get around the system current system, would under the SB54 substitute be required to gather signatures a certain number of signatures to be places on the ballot— 1,000 for House elections, 2,000 for Senate elections, 7,000 for US. congressional districts and 28,000 for statewide elections.

Legislators in support of the bill said that the amendments proposed in the deal preserve the caucus system in Utah, while opening all Utah elections to a primary.

Brandon Beckham, a member of the Utah Republican Party who has been heading Keep Our Caucus, a counter movement to Count My Vote, said, “The deal is bad for Utah citizens. Good for Count My Vote.”

The secondary route to a primary proposed still appeared to some legislators as a way of completely circumnavigating the caucus-convention system; and there was still considerable debate over the issue.

“We believe the bill and [Count My Vote]’s proposal both are unconstitutional; a violation of right of association,” said Beckham.

The Bill’s sponsors do not believe the bill to be vulnerable to legal challenge.

Representatives of Count my Vote said they will not discontinue their petition drive until the bill is received and signed by Herbert.

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