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Utah GOP Drops Costly Lawsuit Over Election Law

Julia Ritchey
Republican delegates gather at the June 17 caucus convention to nominate a candidate for the 3rd Congressional District special election.

The Utah Republican Party is dropping its legal challenge to a state election law that divided its membership and drowned the party in debt.

Party chairman Rob Anderson says they’re pulling the plug on the lawsuit against S.B. 54. That’s the three-year-old law that established a dual path to the ballot for candidates through either signature gathering or the caucus convention system.  

“It was a decision between the officers and the budget committee, and it was basically the fact that we have got ourselves in a position of...retained deficit over the last three years,” he says.

Not only that, but the suit has bitterly divided Republicans, some of whom wanted to keep the suit going.

The case was currently in appeal before the 10th Circuit Court in Denver. While Anderson says they could’ve waited for a decision, the eventual outcome would’ve meant more money.

“It’s ripping the Band-Aid off the wound, but I think at this point we can start healing," he says. "So hopefully in a month we’ll be back on the road to financial solvency… [and] actually focused on the things we really  should be focused on, and should’ve been focused on all along.”

The case may have been moot, anyway. A new ballot initiative called Count My Vote seeks to eliminate the caucus convention system altogether and establish a direct primary.


Julia joined KUER in 2016 after a year reporting at the NPR member station in Reno, Nev. During her stint, she covered battleground politics, school overcrowding, and any story that would take her to the crystal blue shores of Lake Tahoe. Her work earned her two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Originally from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Julia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She’s worked as both a print and radio reporter in several states and several countries — from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to Dakar, Senegal. Her curiosity about the American West led her to take a spontaneous, one-way road trip to the Great Basin, where she intends to continue preaching the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging with her beagle Bodhi, taking pictures of her food and watching Patrick Swayze movies.
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