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Utah GOP Left With Limited Options in Fight Against Count My Vote

Brian Grimmett
File: Utah Republican Party Chairman James Evans

The Utah Republican Party’s attempts to delay the County My Vote compromise did not survive the legislative session.

The Utah GOP was behind three bills aimed at delaying the effects of legislation passed last year known as the Count My Vote compromise. It makes several changes to Utah election law including how parties choose their candidates. Utah GOP Chairman James Evans says the party pushed the legislation because it does not have enough time to conform to the new law before the 2016 election. But the legislature didn’t budge, leaving the party with few options.

“This is a herculean task and it’s going to be a struggle," Evans says. "They chose not to do the delay and we’re going to work as hard as we can to be prepared.”

Evans says their only other option is to wait and see what a federal judge decides to do with their challenge to the law.

The Utah GOP also pushed a bill that would have addressed the issue of a primary candidate not winning the majority of the vote, a situation known as plurality. This could happen in an election that contained several candidates. But the Senate decided not to debate that bill. Sen. Curt Bramble says the GOP’s lawsuit has created too much uncertainty for that bill to matter.

“If the lawsuit prevails, plurality is a non-issue," he says. "If the lawsuit fails, then we’ll have to decide next session or in a future session how to deal with plurality.”

A federal judge has scheduled a hearing in the lawsuit for April 10, but a final ruling probably won’t come until 2016. 

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