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Utah GOP Drops Appeals In SB54 Case

Brian Grimmett/KUER

The Utah Republican Party has dropped its appeal of court decisions to uphold changes to Utah’s election laws. 

Utah GOP Chairman James Evans told The Salt Lake Tribune that the party’s Central Committee decided against going forward with the appeals process in the SB54 case. He said even though it’s unlikely to happen, the party will still ask lawmakers to repeal the law during next year’s legislative session. 

SB54, or the Count My Vote Initiative, allows candidates the option to bypass the party caucus system and gather signatures in order to appear on a primary ballot.

Though Evans did not respond to KUER’s request for comment, he told Utah that the party is instead looking to change the law through legislative action next year. He expressed concerns with the so-called plurality issue, or cases where there are more than two candidates on the primary ballot and no candidate receives a majority of the vote.

Evans said a large part of the reason the party decided against going forward with its legal battle was because of this year’s primary results. None of the candidates who skipped the caucus-convention and qualified for the primary ballot only by gathering signatures won their primary, which Evans says is proof that voters prefer candidates who come out of the party conventions.

The Utah Republican Party had been suing to try to overturn SB54, which was signed into law in 2014. Both the Utah Supreme Court and a federal judge upheld the law this year.

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