Mitt Romney criticizes caucuses

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Former presidential candidate and Governor Mitt Romney has voiced his opinions criticizing Utah’s caucus-convention system.

In an interview published Wednesday in the Boston Globe, he said he would prefer political nominees to come from primary elections. The group Count My Vote in Utah is trying to change Utah’s election by eliminating the caucus, instead, having just primary elections to select political nominees.

FOX13 spoke with supporters on both sides of the issue. The argument comes down to maximizing voter participation, or maximizing the ability for anyone in the state to participate in the political process.

The people trying to eliminate a century old caucus system in Utah may have found a new supporter in Romney.

“We agree that really the best way to choose candidates is through primary elections,” said Taylor Morgan, Executive Director of Count My Vote.

According to the interview with the Boston Globe, Romney says, “I think we should have the majority of the party’s voters decide who they want as their nominee.”

He goes on to say, “Primaries are the place where you see whose message is connecting with the largest number of people.”

Morgan supports Romney's stance.

“We’re not about any one party, we’re not about any one candidate," Morgan said. "We’re simply about making sure that all Utah voters have a voice in choosing their candidates.”

Caucus supporters, however, say they’re not surprised by Romney’s stance.

“It’s not surprising because people with money are attracted to the primaries because all they have to do is throw their money in and it pretty well can guarantee a win,” said Kris Kimball, Co-Chair of Protect Our Neighborhood Elections.

Kimball said the state's caucuses serve an important role in its political system by allowing a diverse candidate pool,

“We like the idea that anybody here in the state of Utah, if they chose to run for office, they could do it and we don’t want to leave it up to just rich men to be able to be elected info office,” Kimball said.

Count My Vote needs to get more than 100,000 signatures by April 15 to get on next year’s ballot. Protect Our Neighborhood Elections is planning a news conference for Thursday morning. We’ll have the very latest information on our website, fox13now.com.