Count My Vote appears to have qualified to get on the November ballot

Posted at 9:45 AM, May 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-03 11:45:44-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A FOX 13 analysis of ballot initiative signatures shows Count My Vote has qualified to be decided by voters in November.

The citizen initiative, which would let political candidates gather signatures to get on the ballot instead of going through the caucus/convention system, has gathered 131,047 signatures in 26 of the 29 Utah Senate districts. That meets the threshold to qualify.

“We’re excited that Utah voters will be able to decide how they want to elect their candidates,” Taylor Morgan, the director of Count My Vote, told FOX 13 on Thursday.

Count My Vote is the second ballot initiative to qualify, according to the FOX 13 ballot initiative analysis. Medical marijuana has qualified with the necessary signatures in 27 Senate districts.

Count My Vote has been the subject of an intense civil war within the Utah Republican Party. It’s sparked lawsuits against the state that have nearly bankrupted Utah’s dominant political party. It’s also led to deep divisions between those who support signature gathering and those who prefer to exclusively use the caucus-convention system.

Senate Bill 54 was passed the last time Count My Vote was gathering signatures as a compromise with the Utah State Legislature. It created a “dual path” allowing candidates to signature-gather, go through caucus/convention or both. The current initiative would preserve that.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert used signature gathering to get into a primary with Jonathan Johnson, who bested him at the state GOP convention in 2016. Mitt Romney gathered signatures to face Mike Kennedy in a primary this year after Kennedy prevailed at convention. Congressman John Curtis also gathered signatures and will face Chris Herrod.

Lt. Governor Spencer Cox will make the decision on which initiatives get certified for the ballot when the validation period ends May 15. The latest numbers show Utah Decides Healthcare (Medicaid expansion) has validated signatures in 24 of the 26 necessary districts. Better Boundaries (independent redistricting) has 21 of the 26 districts.