S.B. 170 Election Schedule Amendments fulfills requests from leaders of the Utah Republican Party, the Utah Democratic Party and county clerks to eliminate confusion and facilitate a more clear and transparent election process.
Under current law and party-selected caucus night dates, this year the candidate filing period falls in the middle of the caucus. Caucus attendees may not know who is running for each office when they meet on Tuesday, which could cause confusion. At the parties’ request, S.B. 170 moves this year’s election filing period from March 7-11 to February 28-March 4.
“S.B. 170 provides an avenue for more neighbors to get involved in the election process,” said Sen. Wayne Harper, sponsor of S.B. 170. “The current filing period has created uncertainty in regard to who’s running for office on caucus night. This bill clears up the confusion by allowing voters to know who candidates are and for caucus attendees to make more informed decisions.”
Additionally, after reviewing other states’ election filing deadlines and working with both major party officers, starting in 2024, this bill will move the filing and intent to gather signatures period to the week before the general legislative session. All current prohibitions regarding collecting campaign donations during sessions remain in effect.
“It’s important to do all we can to increase voter participation and create a process that allows more Utahns to be informed and involved,” said Carson Jorgensen, chair of the Utah Republican Party. “By changing the filing deadline, we are allowing voters to familiarize themselves with candidates ahead of caucus, conventions and the polls.”
“This bill will help ensure that those who participate in caucus nights across the state will be as informed as possible about the candidates on the ballot, and it will make sure that candidates, voters, and local parties are all on the same page,” said Diane Lewis, chair of the Utah Democratic Party. “I support this bill, and I look forward to an increase in civic participation as a result.”
Under existing law, a virtual option to declare candidacy is available for individuals out of the state during the entire filing period.