Complaint claims Count My Vote collected signatures in violation of the law

SALT LAKE CITY — Individuals in Utah who are seeking to make changes to the caucus system have been working to collect signatures for their petition, but questions have arisen regarding the validity of some signatures.

Count My Vote is a Utah group who wants to do away with Utah’s caucus system, which is the method political parties use to select their candidates for office.

Protect Our Neighborhood Elections, a group opposing Count My Vote’s efforts, filed a complaint Friday with the Lt. Governor’s Office, alleging that some of the signatures collected by Count My Vote violate the law and that those signatures should not count.

“They’re using deceit and lying to pass their initiative,” said Kris Kimball, Co-Chair of Protect Our Neighborhood Elections.

The complaint outlines four accusations, which include the following:

1 – Only one of eight corporate donors for Count My Vote has filed the required financial disclosures with the Lt. Governor’s Office.

2 – Washington County School District member emailed Count My Vote materials from a school email account during school hours.

3 – Count My Vote signature collectors have, on documented occasions, verbally misrepresented the nature of initiative, going so far as to completely lie about it.

4 – Count My Vote petitions were allegedly left unattended in public places, which could have allowed anyone to sign without first having their identity verified.

Lindsey Zizumbo, executive director of Count My Vote, released the following statement in response:

“We question the validity of the complaints, but nonetheless we are taking it seriously. We are following all the state safeguards, and are using best practices on our campaign.  With an issue that has the support of 70% of the people we don’t need to play games — so will do everything that is required to do this correctly.”

Members of Protect our Neighborhood Elections were at the State Capitol Friday to voice their findings, and they said they have evidence to back up their claims.

Following the press conference, they released an audio recording, which they claimed was a conversation between one of their members and a Count My Vote employee, allegedly misleading people to believe her petition was for school lunch program.

“Obviously, they’re struggling, they can’t get the signatures they need and they’re on a time crunch and this is what they have to resort to,” said Kim Weis, who recorded the conversation.

At this point, what violations did or did not occur is unclear, according to the Lt. Governor’s Office.

8 comments

  • Claire Broschinsky

    There is no proof that 70% of the people support this. If that were true they would not have had to use the method of petitioning. No one in the house/senate/etc. would support this because they know it is not what’s best for Utah. There IS however validity to the complaints that they are deceiving/defrauding people into signing the petition:

  • Ted

    So far, there isn’t any proof to back up the allegations. In fact, it’s the legislature that is running scared, doing whatever they can to derail the petition drive. What are they afraid of? Why can’t the public decide in November, whether they want the caucuses or not? Why are we allowing a caucuse system ramped with those who scream the loudest with the most radical of agendas to have their way, and choose the primary candidates for us? It’s high time the public regain some of their power to vote for candidates directly in a primary election. I’ve heard at least 9 out of 10 caucuse attendess voice utter disgust and dissatisfaction at not being heard. They are echoing what is angering so many disaffected Utah voters. We don’t need the elite and few deciding what’s good for the many. Let the Utah voter take the responsitbilty of going to the polls, force the candidates to convince the public directly they are worthy of public support, instead of continuing to allow the narrow interests of the few who control the agenda and direction of the caucuse meetings, to determine who runs in the primary elections.

    • David Eggertsen

      No proof? I’ve heard them myself! And recordings have been posted of some of the things they have been saying.

      And you obviously have little understanding of the motives of the people behind Count My Vote. Just look at this page to see the true nature of their petition.
      http://www.utahcountmyvote.com/

      There are certainly ways we can improve the caucus system, but nothing could be worse than going to a direct primary system. The caucus system is a good reason why Utah is considered one of the best managed states.

      Count my Vote is funded by a small group of individuals that seem only to want an alternative path to the ballot. The effort to protect our caucus system has mostly been funded by local counties.

  • Utah Red

    If you really want your vote to count then go to your precinct caucus meeting and vote for a delegate to represent you (or run for a delegate yourself). You know your neighbors, their politics and their character. Your vote will not be influenced by big money and will never carry that much power in primary election. Don’t be a fool. Empower yourself by voting at your caucus meetings.

  • Ted

    The caucus system only serves those who control these meetings and boost their (Mike Lee) candidates to power. No wonder a few replies here back the caucus system. Switching to a direct primary takes that power away.

    Interestingly, there are some caucus participants and proponents that have signed the petition. Why? Although they like the caucus, they believe the voters have the right to put the measure on the ballet to decide whether to keep the status quo, or switch to a direct primary vote.

    Why are caucus supporters so concerned about a ballet initiative? It still requires support from voters in November.

    Utah is better run primarily because of the balanced budget required by the state constitution, not because we currently have a causus system. Most of the country has direct vote primaries. Utah is one of the few stubbornly holding on to a system that provides too much power to the few who naturally, would like to hold on to it.

    Caucus proponents should be putting their case directly to the public, instead of the legislature attempting an end run to circumvent the petition drive. That conduct only reinforces the public belief that our representives are out of control and casually brush aside the very people who put them in office.

    • David

      If you’re wondering why caucus supporters are afraid to have it go to the ballot it is for one reason, money. There is a lot of money behind the Count My Vote movement. In the general election, unfortunately, money gets votes. CMV has already thrown out a great deal of misinformation and they are likely to throw out even more. Will the general public go out and research for themselves the virtues and vices of the caucus system? Not likely. They will trust the misinformation and go with it. Those who understand what it means to have a republic and how the government originally setup by our founders (state and country) is the best way to maintain our freedom, will wish to maintain the caucus system. The problem is, few have done such research as it hasn’t been taught in our public schools for over 50 years. We have been taught pure democracy, and sadly we have bought it.

  • Sherlene Parker

    I have worked in politics for many years and I believe that the Teacher’s Union is behind some of the misrepresentation. They want to eliminate as much competition as they can for their candidates. I have seen this happen for many years and I am very supportive of the opposition to “Count MY Vote”.

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