In 2014, a group of business leaders became extremely concerned about declining civic engagement. The group started a citizen’s initiative, Count My Vote, calling for a referendum on a direct primary election in exchange for getting an alternative path to the ballot.
“A handful of people — just a handful of people — routinely choose candidates,” said former Republican Gov. Mike Leavitt, a co-chairman of Count My Vote.
After collecting more than 100,000 signatures and raising $1 million in contributions, the Legislature took notice. However, the attention wasn’t all positive. Legislative proposals sought to gut the initiative. This led to a standoff between the Legislature, political parties and the business leaders behind the initiative. That’s when Beattie and the Chamber stepped in.
“The aim was to modernize Utah’s election system and improve voter participation,” said Beattie, who brokered a compromise between the Legislature
and the business community. “The Count My Vote compromise brought political parties and Utah voters enhanced choices and more accountability.”
The Utah Legislature passed landmark legislation that improved and modernized Utah’s election system. The effort preserved Utah’s caucus-convention system. The result: an election system that will be far more open and expand choices for candidates and voters. “The leader of Utah’s largest business organization once again proved he’s the best three-point buzzer beater in the league because he scores wins for the community,” said Gochnour. “He convened the negotiations and kept everyone at the table. I’ve worked with Beattie for years and seen his magic. He did it again.”