Count My Vote
The Count My Vote initiative, the organization gearing up to seek major reforms in the way Utah chooses its leaders, may be the most well-funded, well-spoken and well-dressed political revolt in history.
That's no guarantee that it will succeed. But Utah voters, even those who don't move in the same circles as the political and business elites who are organizing and funding the effort, should hope it does.
This is one time when the interests of the rich and connected happen to coincide with the interests of the poor and the ignored. Such an opportunity should not be squandered.
It was announced last week that Gail Miller, owner of one of Utah's most visible business empires, will chair the group. A few days later, the required state filings showed that Miller has donated $100,000 to the organization's efforts.
Miller, wife of the late Larry H. Miller, joins former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt and various other current and former leaders of the state's political and business establishments in putting their money where their reform-minded mouths are.
Their goal, and it is a noble one, is to change the way Utah voters elect their leaders. Or, more accurately, to restore to Utah voters some say in the choice of their leaders.
The motivation for the Count My Vote initiative is the well-founded concern that the state's caucus and convention system has limited meaningful participation to only those who are devoted enough to attend first a neighborhood meeting and then a county or statewide convention. That is the process by which the major political parties choose their standard-bearers for offices from county council to U.S. Senate.
By the time 99 percent of the state's voters are asked for their input, few options remain. And, because of a process that is attractive mostly to ideological purists of one stripe or another, those options are more likely to consist only of a choice between the far right and the far-far right.
Add the near-total dominance of the Utah Republican Party, and the result is offices up and down the line held by people who care little about public education, public health or public transportation and care a lot about protecting private guns, privatizing land and commercializing schools.
Count My Vote wants to replace that system with some kind of more open primary, where many more voters, more moderate voters, would have a voice in the process. And be able to see their needs and priorities reflected in how they are governed.
It is a worthy effort.