Curt Bramble, SB54 and CMV

Curt BrambleFriday morning, Senator Curt Bramble presented SB54, officially titled “Elections Amendments” in the Senate Business and Labor committee.

This bill, which I support, has been in the news lately as a legislative fix to concerns with the caucus/convention system and as an alternative to Count My Vote, a proposal that many say is sloppy and flawed.

Senator Bramble said that according to CMV promoters, their goal is to increase voter participation.  Bramble took them at their word and drafted a bill that is designed to increase voter participation in several ways.

First, political parties shall provide a 2-day window so that as many people as possible can vote for delegate candidates.  Next, the bill allows for either remote voting or alternate delegates to vote at convention.  Third, the bill would increase the threshold to avoid a primary from 60% at convention to 65%, and finally, it would allow unaffiliated voters to cast a vote in the Republican primary.  (They already are allowed to vote in the Democratic primaries, which are open.)

All election law is currently set out in statute – it is not remarkable to deal with election law by the legislators.  The people control the ballot, not the party.  Anyone can run as an unaffiliated candidate.  This bill clarifies that parties have the right to select their nominees.

Most public commenters spoke in favor of the bill.  They included James Humphreys, former Senator Dan Liljenquist, Laura Warburton, Kelly Atkinson, and several others.  LauraLyn Eberting spoke about a concern with 2-day voting, but added that overall, she is supportive of the bill. Lane Beck said he does not believe there is any legal standing for the state legislature to set election law for political parties and Dave Duncan from Utah county said he believes there are fatal flaws in this bill. Duncan pointed to the GOP state central committee consistently voting to not make changes to the party nomination system, said he cannot support the bill in its current form, even with CMV being the alternative.

Interestingly, no CMV proponents spoke publicly at the committee hearing. They did, however, send out a press release that chastised the legislature for doing exactly what they had asked: take action on the state’s election process. Now that the legislature has, they are angry.  Their proposal has shifted many times but the bottom line appears to be that under their proposal, political parties get no no say in choosing their nominee.

The acting chair of the committee, Senator Deidre Henderson, spoke passionately about the caucus system.  She adamantly denies the notion that the Count My Vote movement favors women. “It does not,” she said. She is disappointed that CMV wants to strip women like her of the ability to be involved and is in full support of this bill.

The bill passed out of committee unanimously.

 

This article has been updated from the original posted on Holly on the Hill.

 

 

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