Utah Democrats Moving Toward Complying with SB54 Requirements

With all of the hubbub surrounding the Utah GOP's fight against SB54, it's worth noting the Utah Democratic Party has a relatively easy path to complying with the new election law.

 
Executive Director Lauren Littlefield says the party already took great strides in that direction when delegates voted during the 2013 organizing convention to keep the caucus system in favor of moving to a direct primary.
 
To be a qualified party under the new law, political parties must allow candidates to get on the primary ballot either through the existing caucus system or by gathering signatures. They also have to open those primary elections to non-affiliated voters, which Democrats already allow.
 
Delegates simply need to approve two minor changes to the party's constitution to meet the requirements to be a qualified party.
 
"Everyone is moving toward a more open process and easier access to the ballot," said Littlefield. "Utah's Democrats are moving forward with that process."
 
At the 2013 convention, just over 10% of the party's 3,000 delegates showed up for the debate and vote on whether to keep or ditch the caucus system. That vote pointed the way forward for the party as they prepare to make changes to come in line with SB54.
 
Littlefield says she doesn't expect significant pushback from the party faithful when they meet next month in Park City for their annual convention.
 
"There are always people who have a strong opinion one way or the other," she said. "There's wide support for both systems in our party."
 
While the Democrats anticipate an easy to the changes, Republicans are reluctantly embracing the tasks they have to complete to become a qualified party. The Utah GOP is polling their membership on what they'd like the party to do. Preliminary results show a qualified political party is the preferred course of action.
 
Littlefield says she's not surprised that Republicans seem to be falling in line with the new political reality.
 
"I'm not surprised they (the GOP) is heading this way. If the Count My Vote initiative had made it to the ballot, it would have passed. This is the new landscape we have to adapt to."
 
The Democrats should become the second political party to reach qualified status. Earlier this week the Utah Libertarian Party became the first party to meet all of the parameters of SB54.