Utah Senate takes first vote on bill regarding changes to state’s caucus system

SALT LAKE CITY — The state senate took a first vote that could indicate trouble on the horizon for the Count My Vote initiative effort.

Sen. Curt Bramble, R-District 16, is sponsoring SB 54, which incorporates the language of the Count My Vote petition while allowing parties to maintain caucuses and conventions as the way Utah selects party nominees.

The Count My Vote initiative would change the system so any candidate who meets the qualifications for office and collects enough signatures would be on a primary ballot.

Backers of the initiative say SB 54 is designed to undermine their efforts.

“Any reasonable reading of SB 54 leads one to the conclusion that this is a clever effort to circumvent the will of the people,” said Rick McKeown, Executive Chair of Count My Vote.

Bramble said his bill is an effort to accomplish the same goal while smoothing problems in the writing of the initiative.

“This is a compromise proposal. It gives everyone something they can lay hold of and claim victory, but nobody get’s everything they’re demanding,” Bramble said as he argued for the bill on the Senate floor.

The second reading vote is procedural, with a third reading vote the final tally in the Senate, but the 26 to 2 victory suggests Count My Vote could be in trouble before it ever reaches a ballot.

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