Count My Vote tries to stop SB 54 to no avail

- SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – A showdown on Utah's Capitol Hill Thursday ended with a blow to those pushing to change the caucus system to a direct primary election.

Members of Count My Vote were urging lawmakers to vote no on SB 54, but the vote wasn't even close...

They are threatened by the bill, because they say it's a deliberate effort to silence their voice.

"Read carefully it's just a cleaver ploy, it's really a shocking disregard of the peoples voice. That's why we are here and we intend to pursue this aggressively", said Count My Vote Executive Director, Rich McKeown.

McKeown believes the bill would allow the legislature to circumvent any successful initiative in the future.

Sponsor, Senator Curtis Bramble insists his bill would not diminish the voice of the people.

On the senate floor he admitted to his colleagues it's not a perfect solution, but a compromise to improve the current caucus and primary system.

"No one gets every thing they want in this bill, I guess you could say there is something for everyone in this bill to either complain about or conversely, there is something in this bill that everyone, every citizen that is engaged in this dialogue can say that there is a win for them," said Bramble.

During the debate Senator Margaret Dayton defended the bill.

"I fear that if we eliminate these caucuses we are only allowing those people who are well funded or who have name recognition to be able to sway large numbers of people," said Dayton.

Senator Patricia Jones opposed it.

"When you have hundreds of people who worked to gather the signatures and thousands of people who have signed the petition. I think we need to honor those people," said Jones.

She was only one of two however, the bill passed its second reading by a vote of 26-2.

The bill will have its third and final reading on the senate floor Friday.

Senator Bramble tells ABC 4 Utah he has been reaching out to the opposition and remains open to continued discussion.

Count My Vote has collected more than half the 102,000 signatures required and expects to have the rest within the next few weeks.

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