This hasn’t been an easy process. After months of tough negotiations, members of Utah Legislature and founding members of Count My Vote have reached an agreement to create a dual-track system in Utah.
This dual-track system agreement would preserve Utah’s caucus-convention system, while granting the option for candidates to gather signatures in order to have their name placed on a primary ballot.
The legislation for this agreement is found in the 2nd substitute of Senate Bill 54, sponsored by Rep. Dan McCay and Sen. Curt Bramble.
If the legislation passes, beginning in 2016, a candidate has the option to move forward in the caucus-convention system, or to collect signatures to reach a primary ballot. That candidate can begin collecting signatures on January 1st of the election year up to two weeks before the relevant convention.
If a candidate opts for the direct primary, the candidate must receive a specific number of registered voter signatures in order to be placed in a direct primary. It is broken down as follows:
Statewide office: 28,000,
Congressional district: 7,000,
State Senate: 2,000,
State House: 1,000, and
County position: 3% of registered voters within the county.
Under terms of the agreement, unaffiliated voters will be eligible to vote in the primary election.
In addition, political parties would be required to enact absentee ballot provisions for conventions.
The substituted Senate Bill 54 strikes a balance between holding true to the many supporters of the caucus-convention system, while allowing for alternative routes to help Utah progress with our united goal of higher participation.
Greater involvement is a laudable goal, this agreement contained in Senate Bill 54 aims for increased understanding of Utah’s election process and ideally, turnout.
With something as delicate as Utah’s election system, the greatest care must be taken. That’s what we’ve done in 2nd substitute of Senate Bill 54.
The House Government Operations Committee unanimously approved 2SB54, and sent it to the House floor this morning. Listen to the committee hearing here.
If you missed Sunday’s news conference with legislative leaders and members of Count My Vote, you can re-watch the video here.