Two Paths to the Primary Election


Two Paths to the Primary Election

Since 2014, Utah has allowed candidates for political parties two distinct ways to qualify for a primary ballot:

Caucus Convention Path:

  1. Voters gather in local precincts during caucus.
  2. At caucus, the people who show up choose a handful of delegates to represent them at their party convention.
  3. Delegates gather and vote at state and county party conventions on the candidates that will represent their party.

How Many Votes?

Precincts have around 1,200 voters. Caucus attendance varies, but typically, under 2% of eligible voters attend their caucus meeting. Most precincts have a few dozen attendees (if that) show up to vote on caucus night.

<.1 Eligible Voters

Less that .1% of voters select the candidates

How Many Votes Counted?

Caucus nights are run by party volunteers from the local area. This means that practices for gathering, counting, and reporting votes vary widely. Some caucuses use a secret ballot, while others may vote by raising hands.

2022 Delegate Vote Threshold?

In 2022, the Republican Party state nominating convention, the largest in Utah, had ~4,000 eligible voting delegates (but not all voted). To win their party nomination for US Representative, a candidate needed ~650 votes. A candidate for US Senate needed ~1,500 delegate votes to qualify.

Major Party Caucus Info

Signature Gathering Path:

  1. The person who wants to run for elected office files paperwork to declare their candidacy.
  2. The candidate declares they will gather signatures to qualify for the primary ballot.
  3. Gather the required number of signatures.
  4. Each signature is verified with elections officials.

How Many Sign?

Utah law requires that candidates gather signatures from 2% of eligible party voters in their district to qualify for the ballot. Currently, that means candidates for most offices need thousands of signatures to qualify.

2%+ of Voters

2%+ of voters must sign for each candidate

How Are Signatures Counted?

Signatures are checked by elections officials following established processes. Signers must be registered to vote in the election district as well as being registered with the party to have their signature counted.

Signature Threshold?

Currently, a candidate for US representative needs at least 7,000 verified signatures from registered members of their party to guarantee a spot on the primary ballot.

A candidate for US Senate needs 28,000+ verified signatures to qualify. As many as half of all signatures are rejected, so this means gathering at least 40,000 signatures of Utah voters!

Candidate Filing Information

The filing deadline to file to run for a party is January 8, 2024. Find how to file at your local county clerk’s office.