The way forward with SB 54
Dear Fellow Republican,
We are in the final stages of preparing proposed ideas for how the Republican Party will operate during the 2016 election cycle. There are three dates to remember in this effort:
- May 30, 2015 – State Central Committee to vote on a framework for changes to UTGOP governing documents
- June 27, 2015 – State Central Committee to place final vote on language based on the May 30th meeting
- August 15, 2015 – State Republican Convention to vote on final Constitution and Bylaws changes
To make sure you are part of this important process, the UTGOP is sending out surveys to get your feedback on some proposed ideas. You will receive this survey either in the mail or via email next week.
You may have heard some rancor over several of the recently proposed ideas, but they were just that, ideas, primarily based on practices already in place in county Republican parties. Because of the far-reaching implications and our tight time frame, I felt it necessary to publicly disclose ideas as they came forward. While public discourse has always been our strength as a political party, as you have probably seen, it can become a little challenging at times. Our party system has always relied on its members acting in good faith and properly conveying the actions of our Party, and I hope to see more of this moving forward.
You can count on us to continue working towards a successful 2015 Organizing Convention and 2016 election cycle, and your feedback will help us accomplish this.
I thank you again for your support of the Utah Republican Party.
Quick background on SB 54
SB 54 was a compromise reached by the Utah legislature and Count My Vote. The Utah Republican Party was never part of the compromise and we filed a legal challenge in federal court to SB 54, on the grounds that it violated our constitutional rights. The court first heard our motion to enjoin SB 54 and the judge denied the request primarily on the grounds that it was premature. Under the current schedule, the court is not expected to decide the ultimate questions in the case itself until January 2016. You may have heard negative feedback regarding the hearing on our motion for preliminary injunction, but one of the benefits of the injunction hearing was how the judge provided guidance and feedback. He pointed out several times how, as a Party, we control how our membership is defined, suggesting that we might use that power to address the Party’s concerns about SB 54. We view these statements as very helpful in determining our pathway forward in advance of the 2016 election cycle.
SB 54 mandates that candidates be selected in a primary contest in order to appear on the general election ballot. It allows political parties to choose one of two ways to have their candidates appear on the ballot:
Qualified Political Party Route (QPP) – This route allows a member of the Republican Party to run for partisan public office through the caucus/convention system, by gathering signatures of Republican and unaffiliated voters in that district, or they can choose both options. If the candidate is successful they will end up on the primary ballot. The QPP route mandates at least that we open our primary to unaffiliated voters, and any other political parties allowed by the UTGOP to participate.
Registered Political Party Route (RPP) – This route allows a member of the Republican Party to run for partisan public office through a direct primary by gathering the required number of signatures. The RPP route mandates a closed primary, but the caucus/convention system is not part of the process.
As a Party we are compelled under SB54 to choose a path, either QPP or RPP. The deadlines are 9/30/15 and 11/15/15, respectively.