The Utah Republican Party once again argued against an alternative path to the primary ballot in federal court Monday.
Attorneys for the GOP argue that current thresholds for legislative candidates can be as high as 57% of people eligible to sign in some districts, and previous court rulings show that any threshold above 5% is unconstitutional.
But Utah Democratic Party Chairman Peter Corroon says his party’s argument is that the high thresholds are irrelevant because all candidates have the option of going through party conventions.
“It doesn’t matter because there’s already a route to the ballot," Corroon says. "So, basically any other opportunity to get on the ballot is icing on the cake.”
U.S. District Judge David Nuffer had previously indicated that he was leaning towards striking down the legislative thresholds, but before Monday's hearing sent an email to the involved parties acknowledging the state may have persuaded him otherwise.
Mark Thomas is a deputy director in the Lt. Governor’s office. He says he thinks the judge will rule in the state’s favor, but that they are ready for the consequences if he doesn’t.
“You just remove those thresholds then you’re just left with language that says the candidate, in this case, the legislative candidate, shall submit signatures to the election officer," Thomas says. "So it could mean that if you have two or more signatures that you’ve met the statutory requirement.”
Nuffer says he’ll likely release a written ruling on this specific part of the case before April.