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Count My Vote officially jettisons petition drive

Published March 18, 2014 12:05 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Organizers of the Count My Vote ballot initiative have officially notified the lieutenant governor that they are ending their effort to overhaul Utah's elections system.

In a letter released Monday by the lieutenant governor, former Gov. Mike Leavitt and other Count My Vote organizers wrote that, with the governor's decision to sign SB54s2 — which significantly changes Utah's elections system — there was no need for the group to proceed with collecting signatures to put their reform measure on the November ballot.

"Count My Vote's mission was to effect change in election policy in order to increase participation and broaden engagement in Utah elections," the organizers wrote. "Second Substitute Senate Bill 54 fulfills this mission."

The legislation will allow candidates for office to go around the current caucus-convention process and get onto the primary ballot by gathering signatures. It also opens Republican primaries to unaffiliated voters and requires parties to allow absentee voting at their party conventions.

All the reforms take effect after the 2014 election.

The lieutenant governor's office instructed county clerks Monday to return all petition packets to the lieutenant governor's office. The signatures will not be certified or counted. If Count My Vote wants to revive their petition effort, the group would have to start the signature-gathering process from scratch.

gehrke@sltrib.com