Utah’s Republican Party approved some changes to the state’s system for electing candidates in an effort to stave off an initiative that seeks to replace it. GOP leaders took the action at a special meeting in Fillmore on Saturday, the same day a petition drive began to replace the current caucus and convention nominating system with direct primaries. Republican leaders said the changes will make it easier for more people to participate in neighborhood caucuses to ensure results represent the will of the people. Among other things, they decided to allow absentee voting for people unable to attend evening caucuses and early online registration to speed up the check-in process.
“We’re going to ensure we keep the caucus system,” state GOP Chairman James Evans said. “It’s a lot better system than allowing people with a lot of money to determine who the candidates are (in primary elections).”
But leaders of Count My Vote, which is pushing for direct primaries, say the changes are “superficial tweaks” and were only passed to derail an initiative petition that threatens to dump the caucus system.