Rolly: GOP leader boycotts theaters over Count My Vote
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The fight to keep election reform off the ballot is getting nasty.

Utah County Republican Chairman Casey Voeks launched a Facebook page urging folks to boycott the Megaplex Theatres for allowing the Count My Vote campaign into theater lobbies to gather signatures on its ballot petition.

"I just messaged Megaplex theaters and told them I wasn't going to be going to the movies if they keep having 'count my vote' stuff there. I'm in politics and even I have a desire to escape it once in a while," Voeks wrote on one post.

"Let's get them to stop having count my vote petitioners bug us as we go out with our families," he wrote on another.

Gail Miller, whose entertainment empire includes the 16 Megaplex theater complexes in Utah, is a strong supporter of the Count My Vote ballot initiative that proposes to replace the caucus/convention system of nominating candidates with a direct primary.

Voeks told me he was offended when he saw the petitioners in the lobby of the Megaplex at Thanksgiving Point. He said others who have posted on Facebook are equally offended.

Linda Luchetti, vice president of communication for the Larry H. Miller Group, says the Facebook page doesn't seem to have much of an impact.

She said the movie theaters have done fantastically well this holiday season and, in fact, led the nation over the weekend in attendance for "The Hobbit" sequel.

Count My Vote organizers tell me there have been few incidents of harassment, and the protests to their efforts have been low-key with some opponents simply expressing their opinion to the petitioners in the movie theaters.

But one incident in St. George was different.

A group of what appeared to be organized protesters became so disruptive that the theater manager ordered them to leave.

Another group has launched an alternative political issues committee, called Utah First, to counter the Count My Vote petition. Utah First so far has raised about $7,000, with $5,000 of that coming from the Iron County Republican Party.

Biting the hand? It's a pretty sad day when the executive director of Utahns Against Hunger gets her Winder Dairy order stolen from her front porch.

But it happened twice to Gina Cornia, who heads the organization dedicated to programs that help feed the hungry.

"I feel something cosmic is going on," Cornia told me.

After the second theft, she left a note on her milk box telling the culprit that, if he or she needs food, Cornia will help get access to food-stamp programs and other help organizations.

Cornia says one in seven families in Utah struggles to put enough food on the table.

Since Congress just voted to cut $8 billion from the food-stamp program, maybe the hungry thief should target the Utah delegation's milk boxes rather than an advocate for the poor.

Impeccable timing? • I'm sure that Assistant Attorney General Christian Stephens is a fine attorney and dedicated public servant, and deserving of respect and acclaim from his colleagues in the attorney general's office.

But I can't help but notice the irony of the announcement Friday that Stephens, who represents the Department of Environmental Quality, was named by his peers as "Attorney of the Year" on the worst air-quality day of the year so far.

prolly@sltrib.com