Utah State Capitol (Photo credit: J. Stephen Conn)
At the Utah Republican caucus, we were asked to nominate and then elect precinct officers. Four people, three men and one woman, were nominated for chairman and agreed to serve if elected. All four were lined up in front of us and asked to give a short speech to introduce themselves. Most spoke so softly that they were hard to hear and all four were strangers to me. We were allowed to ask them questions. Two declared support for Mitt Romney and one for Rick Santorum. The question in my mind was should I decide on the basis of who they support for president or should I vote for the individual who will do the most for the precinct Republican party? Hard to decide on such short notice.
In the future, I would suggest that nominees be selected in advance and short, written descriptions of all candidates be given to caucus attendees upon arrival so that we would have more time to study their qualifications. Additional candidates could be nominated during the evening before the votes are cast. Personally, I think that precinct work would rate more in my decision than who a precinct officer might support. At the state meeting in April in Salt Lake City, precinct officers will be deciding on candidates for several offices, not just president.
Please see Caucus night
Precinct 259 Caucus (Photo credit: Bonita Sarita)
I attended my first ever caucus event last evening and no identification was required. I was surprised at the size of the crowd, but there were 8 to 10 precincts meeting at one school location. The precinct chairman running the meeting said that our precinct contained about 530 registered Republicans and we who were there represented about 15% of their number. It looked like a few more to me, but not everyone there was registered to vote. At the previous meeting in 2010, only 42 people showed up.
I was prepared to stay an hour and stayed two. When I left, it appeared that the meeting would last at least another hour. Some precincts in the same building rated chairs. My precinct met in the gym and we sat on hard bleacher seats. I have spinal disc compressions that make hard seats very painful. I wasn’t prepared with a soft cushion and lasted as long as I could.
The first two hours were procedural and the real voting had just begun as I left. Sorry I missed it, but we were about to vote on precinct officers only; there was no opportunity to vote directly for state or national candidates. Once elected, the precinct chairman, vice chairman, and secretary/treasurer would travel to Salt Lake City in late April to cast their ballots for state and national candidates. Once selected, those candidates were almost guaranteed of election in November, since GOP candidates rarely lose in Utah. I was disappointed that I was denied an opportunity to vote to retire Orrin Hatch. I was unwilling to assume GOP party duties for two years so that I could cast a meaningful vote.
Please see Orrin Hatch