Count My Vote: At a theater near you
BY JOHN PITT
(Pitt is a Bountiful City Councilman and chair of the Davis Alliance for Public Education.)
I’ve been spending a lot of time at the Megaplex lately, but I haven’t seen many movies. Instead, I’ve been helping the Davis Alliance for Public Education gather signatures for the Count My Vote initiative.
Collectively, the Davis Alliance has gathered thousands of signatures; primarily among Davis County movie-goers and grocery shoppers.
Tens of thousands more signatures have been collected by reform-minded citizens throughout the state. They, like me, see Count My Vote as the best way to bring real change to an election process that keeps the power to select primary candidates in the hands of a tiny number of party ideologues.
The Count My Vote petition will put a measure on the 2014 ballot that, if passed, would allow candidates to get on future primary ballots by petition rather than strictly by party conventions.
Like any political issue, there are pros and cons to both sides of Count My Vote that need to be debated. That is precisely what putting the measure on the November ballot will do. Yet, the idea of letting the general public determine the primary election process has some party insiders so stirred up that they have taken a python-egg approach to the petition; crush it before it hatches.
My personal interaction with hundreds of Davis County citizens has made it clear that there are three schools of thought regarding Count My Vote. The largest is comprised of voters who are perplexed and put-off by party caucuses. They favor a more inclusive process and they readily sign the petition.
There is also a sizable number of people who are so distrusting of Utah primaries that they roll their eyes at the very suggestion of doing something about them...at least until after their movie. By then, the promise of open primaries leads them back to our table and they usually sign.
Lastly, there are a few people who castigate us for having the audacity to attempt to make the process easier for non-aligned voters. They tell us they are glad the caucus system narrows the selection process exclusively to their brand of “informed” activist.
Regardless of which of these three positions a voter brings to the table, I ask them the same questions that I now ask all Utah Citizens: “Do you feel fully represented in the primary candidate selection process? Have your political preferences and priorities been present somewhere in the slate of recent primary candidates? Do the winning candidates, regardless of party, value your input, recognize your concerns, and honor their ethical responsibilities to Utah?” If, like most people I talk to, you answered “no” to one or more of these questions, I invite you to come by a Megaplex theater this weekend. The feature playing at the little table in the lobby will be “Election Reform Comes to Utah!” Starring you.