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Most big money backers of Count My Vote skipped caucuses

Leavitt calls system “exclusionary”; critic of Count My Vote scoffs at “soft elitism.”



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Evans said he anticipates an emergency meeting of the Republican Party’s governing board to be held fairly soon where they will discuss and vote on a package of caucus reforms aimed at making it easier for people to participate, including pre-registration and proxy voting for those who legitimately cannot attend.

Utah State University political science professor Damon Cann said the participation by the Count My Vote supporters is probably better than it might seem on the surface.

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"There’s just a touch of irony in them pushing for [reform] when they haven’t been participating," he said. "On its face it seems like kind of a dreary statistic, but I think by comparison to the rest of the population you really have a group of people that is probably at least as politically active [as the average Utahn]."

Even in the record attendance at the 2012 caucuses — fueled by a multimillion-dollar mobilization effort from Sen. Orrin Hatch and repeated urging from the LDS Church for members to attend — only about a quarter of registered Republicans and 10 percent of Democrats went to their caucus meetings. In 2010 and 2008, turnout was even lower.

"It says something about the nature of the system when you have a set of individuals who are really invested in the community," said Cann, "The Miller family has done terrific, wonderful things, a really civic-minded family, and if they don’t feel comfortable participating in the caucuses, that may be as much a comment on the caucus system as it is on the Millers."

gehrke@sltrib.com

Twitter: @RobertGehrke




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