Utah Sets Out Rules for Getting on Ballot for Special U.S. House Election

On May 19, the Utah state elections office released guidelines for candidates who want to run for U.S. House, 3rd district. The special election will be held November 7, 2017. It is needed because of the resignation of Congressman Jason Chaffetz.

Qualified parties can easily place a nominee into this special election. They would nominate by convention. The qualified parties are Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, Constitution, and Independent American. The state’s guidelines provide no means for a new party to get on the ballot in time for this election, something that is probably unconstitutional.

Independent candidates can run with 300 signatures, obtained by June 12. Individuals who want the nomination of a ballot-qualified party, and who do not enjoy support at the party meeting, can try to get on that party’s primary ballot, but the petition is extraordinarily difficult. It requires 7,000 signatures of party members (if that party allows independents to vote in its primaries, then independents can also sign). They are due June 12. Utah has 645,215 registered Republicans, and has four U.S. House districts. The exact number of registered Republicans is not known, but if one divides the number of registered Republicans in the state by four, then one can assume that there are approximately 161,304 registered Republicans in the Third District. To get 4.3% of the eligible signers to sign in only 24 days is almost certainly unconstitutional.

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