Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

January 14, 2016
Questions abound about how to qualify for primary election

There have been a lot of questions about the new path to get onto the primary election ballot by way of petitions.

If you have a question, you’re not alone. Election officials also have many questions and the Lieutenant Governor’s office is trying to answer them, with information changing almost daily. But let me see if I can help.

There are three paths a candidate can take to getting onto the 2016 Primary Election ballot: signature petition, the caucus system, or both.

To gather signatures, a candidate must get 3 percent of the registered voters.

If they are going to file as a candidate for a party that closes its primary election (meaning only members affiliated with that party can vote for their candidates) they will need signatures from voters registered/affiliated with that party.

The required number of signatures by party affiliation is: Republican 336, Democrat 71, Independent American 5, Libertarian 4, Constitution 3 and Unaffiliated 407.

If a candidate is going to file with a party that does not close its primary election, they will need 3 percent of all registered voters within the county — or 826 signatures.

For example, if you are gathering signatures as a member of the Constitution Party, which has a closed primary election, you will need 3 percent of the voters in Tooele County who have registered/affiliated with the Constitution Party. That number is three signatures.

If you are gathering signatures as a member of the Independent American party, which has an open primary election, you will need 826 signatures.

So far only the Constitution and Libertarian parties have closed their primary elections. Historically the Republican Party has closed its primary election; however, all parties have until March 1 to declare it closed.

Candidates cannot gather signatures until they have signed an “Intent to Gather Signatures” form, which can be obtained from my office. Once candidates signed the form, my office will date and time stamp them.  Their information will then be put into the voter database, which will generate the petition forms. These specific forms are the only ones that will be accepted for verifying signatures. The petitions will be verified in the order we receive them.

Candidates for all offices, other than those for Tooele County School District Board, wishing to go the signature route can fill out the “Intent to Gather Signatures” form and gather signatures from Jan. 4, 2016 until two weeks before their party’s convention.

Candidates for the county school board, which is non-partisan, do not need to collect signatures. However, they can file for office beginning Jan. 4, 2016 through March 17, 2016.

All other candidates, including those collecting signatures, must officially file for office and pay their filing fee during the filing period that runs from March 11, 2016 to March 17, 2016. County offices open this year are County Commissioner and County Attorney.

As stated previously, candidates can go the petition route, the party convention route, or both.

Voters can only sign one candidate’s petition per office. If a voter signs more than one petition for the same office, the first signature verified will be the only one that counts. This link will show you an updated list of candidates:  http://www.co.tooele.ut.us/clerk/Elections.htm.

Please contact me at 435-843-3148 or at mgillette@tooeleco.org if you have any questions.

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