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Federal Judge Rules There Won't Be an Injunction Against SB54

A federal judge has denied an injunction against the controversial election reform law known as SB54.

The Utah Republican Party asked the judge to delay the implementation of SB54 because it believes the law is unconstitutional and that it causes the party irreparable harm by limiting their freedom to assemble. But U-S District Judge David Nuffer did not agree with the GOP’s arguments.

Without the injunction, the law remains in effect.  That means if the GOP wants to have its candidates appear on the 2016 ballot, the party needs to make a decision on whether or not they want to be considered a registered political party, or a qualified political party. Utah GOP chairman James Evans says they could also choose to do nothing at all.

“That will be some significant discussion among the thousands of Republican delegates,” Evans says.

Mark Thomas is the chief deputy in the Lt. Governor’s office, which oversees elections. He says the ruling doesn’t change much for them.

“From the elections office standpoint, the Lt. Governor’s office, we are moving forward," he says. "We are preparing. We are going to be getting the candidates and political parties, and the public ready and knowledgeable of what SB54 does and how it changes the election law.

While Judge Nuffer ruled against the preliminary injunction, he did say that he had some concerns with parts of SB54, particularly the requirement that qualified political parties have to open their primaries to unaffiliated voters. That, and other questions surrounding the law, will be litigated on an undetermined future date. 

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