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City OKs switch to primary elections

After a couple of tentative tries at changing over to a primary election rather than the convention system, Pleasant Grove city officials voted election night to try it again.

They say the town's bigger and more ready now than it's been in the past.According to Charmaine Childs, city recorder, Pleasant Grove actually voted for the primary system once before in 1993 but reversed itself just prior to the 1995 election. They considered making the switch again two years ago and never carried the action through.

"I would think with the growth we're ready now," said Childs. "The convention system is kind of a little-town kind of thing."

Councilman Vic Hammond said the primary system of choosing candidates for office will give citizens a broader choice.

"It's kind of a Mickey Mouse system we've got," said Hammond. "It's time to do this."

The council voted unanimously to change over after Hammond brought up the possibility in the Oct. 7 meeting.

Childs said very little discussion and no opposition was registered, although two years ago the proposal met with quite a lot of opposition, judging by letters the city received.

Hammond said the two organized parties in Pleasant Grove,; the Citizens Party and the People's Party, aren't serious about committing to a platform or a specific agenda. The new third party, "The New Pleasant Grove Action Party," is a good deal more active, said Hammond.

"If we hadn't done this last night (adopted the primary system), they were going to introduce it," he said.

The Action Party was organized after the Citizens Party chose candidates for the mayor and council in a convention meeting that drew 200 people and the People's Party came up with only a couple of candidates after two conventions that drew a handful of residents.

"Look at the number of potential voters in Pleasant Grove," said Hammond, "There are about 11,000. We had only about 21/2 percent represented in the conventions. If we'd run true to form, it should have been around 10 per-cent."

Childs said she will now file the council's action with state elections officials and run legal notices in the local newspapers.

After that, Pleasant Grove will just wait until the next election year to try out a primary system.

"I think we're there. This is what Pleasant Grove needs to be doing," said Childs.