I know that the paint is barely dry on Election 2014, but let us look ahead to some important dates to watch for in our mad dash to November 8, 2016. Most dates are tentative. Unless otherwise noted, my source was TheGreenPapers.com.
January 26, 2015 – March 12, 2015: Utah’s Legislative Session. Expect movement on two different fronts dealing with the 2016 elections. First, expect the Legislature to take up the “Count My Vote” issue once again. Delegates to the 2014 Utah Republican Convention passed a resolution against the “Count My Vote” compromise the Legislature passed in this year’s session. In addition, GOP Chairman James Evans has said he is opposed to CMV as well. If the 2015 Legislature reverses the actions of the 2014 Legislature, look for a Count My Vote referendum to begin immediately, a la the 2007 voucher bill or 2011’s HB477.
The other matter to be decided this session is when to hold the Presidential Primary for Utah. Last year, the House passed HB 410, which would have moved Utah’s Primaries to be the very first in the country. The bill died when it was not taken up by the Senate. Expect the Legislature to pick this up again this year.
February 2015: Look for most of the Major candidates for President to have announced their intentions by the end of February. In 2008, Barack Obama officially joined the race on February 10, six weeks behind John Edwards and three weeks behind Hillary Clinton. On the Republican side, John McCain announced his candidacy on March 1, after Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and Ron Paul.
June 2015: Republican and Democratic delegates will vote on party leadership at their state conventions.
November 3, 2015: Municipal Election Day in Utah. Look for several old faces in new places to show up in these races in addition to meeting many new faces as well.
January 5, 2016: Iowa Caucus Day. The first votes to decide America’s next president will be cast, unless Utah decides to jump the gun.
February 2, 2016: If other western states agree, Utah will participate in the Western States Primary. Assuming we don’t decide to go before Iowa. This is the most likely date for Utah’s Presidential Primary.
March 1, 2016: Super Tuesday. Currently, 9 states plan to hold their presidential primaries on this day.
March 15 and 17, 2016: Utah’s Precinct Caucuses. With an alternate path to the primaries available (assuming that Count My Vote is still in effect), turnout at Utah’s Caucuses will likely be lower than the past few years, and the demographics will shift much more towards die-hard political junkies. However, if Utah has not already held presidential primaries, the Democrats will vote for their nominee at the precinct caucuses on March 15.
March 18-25, 2016: Candidate filing period. We’ll know by 5:00 PM on the 25th who is running in nearly 200 races in Utah, from US Senator to County Councils.
April 16, 2016: Republican and Democratic State Conventions. The parties will be finalizing their primary ballots, and Democrats (and possibly Republicans) will be electing delegates to the national convention.
June 28, 2016: Primary Day. We’ll have our primary elections, and then people will forget it’s an election year for anything but President for another 4 months. Also, if it hasn’t happened yet, Utah Republicans will have their say in the presidential race.
July 18-21, 2016: Republican National Convention in beautiful Cleveland Ohio. It will be the first time the Republican Convention has been in Ohio since 1936, and the earliest the Republican Convention has been held since 1980. (source)
September 6-8, 2016: Democratic National Convention. Democrats are still deciding which city they will be invading.
November 8, 2016, 8:00PM: Polls close. Everyone will be happy election day is over.
November 8, 8:01PM: Elections 2018 and 2020 begin!