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Count My Vote Co-Founder Worried Legislature Will Gut Election Reforms

A leader of the Count My Vote initiative says he’s concerned the legislature is positioning itself to destroy the intent of a compromise bill, known as SB 54, passed during the last legislative session.

SB 54 was a compromised brokered between representatives of the Count My Vote initiative and members of the Republican Party in the state legislature. It allows candidates to bypass the state’s caucus/convention system and go straight to the primary ballot by gathering signatures. But Count My Vote co-founder Kirk Jowers, says he believes there are people in the legislature thatplan on changing the intent of that compromise.

“If they were to do something like create a runoff situation which again took the vote away from the people and gave it to insiders, we would combat that with all our force,” he says.

While Jowers says he would be fine with a runoff that went back to the people, he’d rather that the legislature leave the law alone until after a few election cycles to see if candidates winning with only a plurality of votes even becomes an issue.

Republican Senator Curt Bramble was the primary sponsor of SB 54. He says he isn’t drafting any bill to address the issue of plurality, but even if someone else did, it wouldn’t mean the legislature was going back on the agreement.

“If plurality becomes a hot button, I believe the legislature will address it," he says. "Whether they do it in a way that Mr. Jowers approves of, or not, will be a subject of discussion.”

The changes made to Utah election law in SB 54 go into effect in 2016. 

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