The Utah House and Senate believe they have come up with a “win-win solution” to expand access to Utah’s primary elections. Amendments to Senate Bill 54 were officially announced in a press conference Sunday at the Utah State Capitol, with members of the Utah Legislature and the leadership behind the Count My Vote ballot initiative attending. In what was called “historic legislation,” by Count My Vote executive chairman Rick McKeown, the bill seeks to expand options to voters while retaining Utah’s caucus-convention system. The bill creates a direct primary election, opening the door for candidates to use caucus-conventions or signature gathering as a means of getting on the ballot and allowing an estimated 665,000 unaffiliated voters to participate in primary elections.
If the bill passes, Count My Vote will drop its petition, which organizers said has gathered 100,000 of the 102,000 signatures needed to get the measure on the ballot.
“I suspect that not everybody will still be joyful about it. We feel like it’s been a great compromise. In fact, I think compromise is understated. We’re confident we’ve come up with a win-win solution to engage citizens,” Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, said at the end of the new conference.
According to McKeown, the bill will “significantly modernize the Utah election system.”