Utahns in search of a less partisan political home may now have one — officially.
After a prolonged spat with the Utah Elections Office, the United Utah Party gained certification Monday to become the state’s 6th registered party.
“We are delighted that the Lieutenant Governor’s office has certified our party,” said Richard Davis, United Utah Party Chair. “The fact that it took them 30 days to do what could have taken a day or two is just another piece of evidence that they don’t want our party certified and wanted to make the process as painful as possible for us. We couldn’t provide a better argument for the need for our party in a one-party state without viable competition.”
In order to register as a political party in Utah, at least 2,000 registered voters must sign a petition. United Utah volunteers collected and submitted roughly 2,700 signatures to the Elections Office on May 26th. The party also submitted its constitution and bylaws, and elected party officers at a convention on June 17. Elections officials had declined to process the United Utah petition for weeks, while apparently fast-tracking those from Republican would-be contenders.
“Normally a ‘third party,’ let alone a sixth party, wouldn’t generate this kind of political resistance.” Davis said. “But there are many, many Utahns who feel they’ve been taken hostage by politicians at both ends of the spectrum. United Utah poses a real threat to the Republican and Democratic parties.”
The party’s certification does not mean Jim Bennett, the party’s nominated candidate for the Third Congressional District special election automatically will be placed on the ballot. The party has brought suit in federal court to require the Lieutenant Governor’s office to allow Bennett to be a candidate. The suit is in process.