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Court Upholds Utah's Signature-Gathering Law

By William Vogeler, Esq. on June 15, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Utah politics have always been a little different.

From its theocratic beginnings, Utah has long been a bastion of conservatives. If you are a Democrat in Utah, you may have a hard time winning an election.

So it is not too surprising that Utah's most recent political battle is between Republicans and Republicans. In Utah Republican Party v. Cox, the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals may have put an end to it -- for now.

Senate Bill 54

It started in 2014, when the Utah GOP fought against the passage of SB 54. It provided a signature-gathering alternative for candidates to get on the ballot.

The old guard wanted convention delegates to choose the party candidate. But polls showed Utahs preferred the alternative.

It caused infighting among the state's 600,000 Republicans, leading to a lawuit that made its way to the Tenth Circuit -- twice. The first time, the appeals court said no.

The second time, on a request for rehearing, the appeals court said no again. "States must have flexibility to enact reasonable, common-sense regulations designed to provide order and legitimacy to the electoral process," the judges wrote in their decision.

Vow to Appeal

Party representatives vowed to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. Other party representatives said it's over.

"Today's decision provides a sorely needed resolution to a lengthy and divisive issue," said Lt. Governor Spencer Cox.

Cox said he and Gov. Richard Herbert "look forward to meeting with Republican leadership in the near future to discuss how to best unite our party."

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