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After months of gathering more than 100,000 signatures and spending more than $1 million, organizers of the Count My Vote abandoned their ballot initiative effort, opting for a compromise that will provide candidates with an alternative to going through the party caucus-and-convention system.

Under the new regime beginning in 2016, a candidate could still go through the party convention system and try to win the nomination by garnering support from enough delegates.

But the hopeful could also gather enough signatures — the number depending on the office — to go directly to the primary ballot. SB54 would also require the Republican Party to open its primary elections to unaffiliated voters (Democrats already do) and provide absentee voting for convention delegates.

Opponents said the compromise in SB54 would doom the caucus system, which they said has served Utah well.

Gov. Gary Herbert, who signed the bill this week, said "On balance I think it was the best thing to do for the people of Utah.… This will not be a death warrant for the caucus-convention system in my view."

— Robert Gehrke

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