Today, the Utah Democratic Party issued the following statement from Executive Director Lauren Littlefield regarding nomination of presidential candidates in the 2016 presidential election.

The Utah Democratic Party will not hold an online presidential primary in 2016.

“In the last legislative session, HB 329 allocated $3 million to hold a state-run presidential primary election. A state-run election would have allowed all Utahns to vote in this important part of the political process. Unfortunately, the GOP, as part of their strategy to fight SB 54 and prevent unaffiliated voters from participating in their primary election, decided to opt out of the state-run presidential primary, choosing instead to hold a presidential caucus with an online voting component.

As Democrats, we are committed to expanding access to the ballot for all, and in a presidential year, a state-run election is the best way to ensure participation by the greatest number of voters.However, due to GOP infighting, many Utahns will face yet another hurdle in accessing the ballot box.

“Political parties should be focused on turning out voters and helping candidates get elected. Forcing the state parties to run their own presidential primaries adds an unnecessary burden. Rather than spend more than $100,000 on running a presidential primary, Utah Democrats have elected to choose a presidential candidate via a presidential preference poll at the March 22, 2016 neighborhood caucuses.

“Aside from the financial cost, party-run elections open the door for myriad issues, among them, cybersecurity, identity theft, and privacy. Can the Utah Republican Party guarantee the protection of a voter’s identity and secret ballot with their online system?

“The bottom line is the Utah GOP has closed the door once again on wide participation in our political process through their SB 54 delay tactics. Utah Democrats have chosen to spend our time and resources on turning out voters for the pivotal 2016 General Election. After all, state parties should be in the business of winning elections, not running them.”