Utah Democrats Won't Hold Presidential Primary in 2016 | KUER 90.1

Utah Democrats Won't Hold Presidential Primary in 2016

May 6, 2015

The Utah Democratic Party says they won’t be holding a presidential primary in 2016. Instead of holding a presidential primary, the Utah Democratic Party has decided to poll its members during their neighborhood caucus meetings in March of 2016.

In the past the legislature has either elected to pay for a special statewide presidential primary or to just hold the primary during the state’s regular date when people vote on statewide and local elections. But the legislature didn’t fund a special primary and the regular primary in 2016  is too late to meet national party requirements for both Republicans and Democrats. That means party leaders will have to decide on their own how to poll their members.

Lauren Littlefield is the executive director of the Utah Democratic Party. She says that decision has left the Democrats in a difficult position.

“We had really looked deeply into running an online presidential primary as part of our neighborhood caucuses in 2016, but after looking at the costs of that, we decided it would be better to spend $100 thousand on turning out voters in the general election, than spending $100 thousand to run an online election for a primary,” she says.

Littlefield says the Democrats prefer a statewide primary because they are usually much better attended than neighborhood caucuses.

Meanwhile, the Utah Republican Party will also be holding a presidential caucus, but in an attempt to involve more people, it will include an online voting component.