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Letter to the Editor: Do primaries increase political participation?
Jun 12, 2013 | 1290 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
To the Editor:

I’ve watched recently as the news media heavily attacks the decision of delegates to support the caucus system. I continue to watch delegates be labeled “elitists,” “selfish” and “extremists.”

These labels are used to try and discredit and destroy the caucus system. Delegates are elected by the majority of their neighbors who know and trust them. Delegates are delegated the responsibility of researching and vetting candidates for office.

Since not everyone has hundreds of hours to spend researching candidates for office, they are able to delegate the responsibility to a neighbor they know and trust.

These delegates spend countless hours vetting candidates for public office. Prior to getting hired for a job, you are required to go through an extensive application and interview process. The same is true in Utah with those seeking public office. This is why we are the best managed state. Delegates act as a hiring panel to decide if a candidate should or should not be hired. Candidates are required to meet one on one with delegates and be questioned on their qualifications. If delegates cannot come to a consensus, a 60 percent or more supermajority, then the top two candidates advance to a primary.

Utah experimented with the direct primary system from 1937 to 1947, which marked the end of a disastrous decade in Utah politics. During this time the populous dumped the primary system when voter turnout declined to only 10 percent.

In the caucus system, candidates are required to speak directly to voters. Money is not so crucial for candidates and often the candidate with the most money does not win. In a primary, just the opposite is true. Candidates are required to reach tens of thousands of people in a very short period of time. Since this is impossible, candidates are forced to turn to media and political consultants, paying them large sums of money to get their political message out through TV ads, automated phone calls and junk mail. This requires candidates to raise large sums of money, making them accountable to lobbyists instead of you.

Many opponents of the caucus system have tried to elude that the (LDS) church is opposed to the caucus system. This is completely false.

In February 2012 the First Presidency of the LDS Church said this, "Precinct caucuses are the most fundamental grassroots level of political involvement.”

Many other church leaders and prophets have taught principles which support the caucus system. President David O. McKay said this, “It is part of our ‘Mormon’ theology that the Constitution of the United States was divinely inspired; that our Republic came into existence through wise men raised up for that very purpose. We believe it is the duty of the members of the Church to see that this Republic is not subverted either by any sudden or constant erosion of those principles which gave this Nation its birth.”

The caucus system represents a republic form of government. Nowhere in the constitution or founding documents of this nation will you find the word “democracy.” However you will find the word “Republic” in many of our nation’s founding documents.

Don’t let your voice in Utah elections be taken away. Help fight the “count my vote coalition’s” ballot initiative and reject the idea that D.C. Lobbyists know best. Please visit to learn more.

Blake Cozzens

Iron County Republican Party Chair

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