This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Residents of the northern Utah community of Wellsville received an interesting insert with their utility bills this month.
Inside the envelope, sent from the city offices and stamped with the city postage permit, was a notice to attend the Republican caucus Tuesday.
The invitation gave the date and the time, and let all the city utility users know that it would be held at Willow Valley Middle School. It also implored residents to register for the caucus meeting online at Utah.gop.
The notice let folks know that anyone could attend the caucus meeting, but only registered Republicans would be allowed to vote.
Curiously, there was no notice included for, say, the Democratic caucus. I guess that would be using government services for political purposes.
Parking cops were ready • Democrats certainly are not used to the teeming crowds the party's caucuses attracted Tuesday and, in some cases, were unprepared for the onslaught.
But some folks, it seems, sensed the throngs that would show up at caucus locations and were ready.
Attendees at the Democratic caucus at Ensign Elementary on 12th Avenue stood in long lines for more than an hour to get in and had difficulty finding a place to park anywhere near the school.
As they were leaving after 8 p.m., they noticed a Salt Lake City Parking Enforcement vehicle slapping tickets on cars parked along the cemetery wall on 11th Avenue.
Lost in the mail? • Most complaints about voter suppression the past few years have been aimed at Republican legislatures and governors passing and signing strict ID rules for voter registrations.
But Janelle Heck wonders if voter suppression has trickled into Democratic caucuses now that the donkey party has shown some life in Utah.
She stood in line for an hour to get to the table to vote in the Democratic caucus at Olympus High, only to find out that her name was not on the list and she was denied a ballot.
That's odd. Heck has voted in every election in Salt Lake County for more than 30 years. She has been a Democratic precinct chairwoman. She is registered to vote and has her voter registration card to prove it.
Besides her own woes, she says the room was so crowded and the process so disorganized she noticed many people giving up and leaving before even trying to vote.
So much for a successful turnout.
Pigs do fly • Then there were the problems that arose because the Democratic caucus in Spanish Fork was overrun by more than 1,000 participants.
Yes, you read that correctly: More than 1,000 at a Democratic gathering in Spanish Fork.
Not anticipating a huge crush of Democrats in a Utah County enclave, the party sent caucus host Matthew Hogan 650 ballots. When they ran out of ballots, caucus officials handed out provisional ones and, altogether, 1,286 ballots were cast.
So far, the party's website showing results of the caucuses statewide shows only 586 votes counted in the Spanish Fork caucus. Perhaps even party leaders couldn't believe there were that many Democrats in Spanish Fork.
Déja vu • Tim Houpt saw an interesting parallel between this week's Democratic caucus votes and the 1984 election, 32 years ago. That year, the Democratic Party establishment candidate was former Vice President Walter Mondale. The state's party leaders and superdelegates were firmly committed to Mondale.
But Colorado Sen. Gary Hart trounced Mondale on the strength of young newcomers who were enamored by the youthful Hart.
Houpt, the former attorney for the Democratic Party, was the state chairman of the Hart campaign and one of the young soldiers ready to buck the establishment.
Now, 32 years later, Houpt waited in a long line dominated by young voters excited for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Houpt, now much older, was there to vote for the establishment candidate: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.