POLITICS & ELECTIONS

How to participate in Utah GOP caucus night

Feb 20, 2024, 2:10 PM | Updated: Feb 21, 2024, 6:20 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Voting on Super Tuesday for Utah Republicans will look a little different this year.

Registered Republicans in Utah will need to plan to clear their schedules, because on Tuesday, March 5, the Utah Republican Party is holding a presidential preference poll at caucus night instead of a primary election.

That means for registered Republicans, no ballots get automatically mailed. Instead, party voters will need to show up in person or participate by voting absentee at their local caucus night through the party.

Utah’s GOP Chair Rob Axson said on top of saving the state money they wanted to encourage people to show up and participate in their neighborhood discussions at the most local level.

“We’re trying to show them a way where they can get involved and have a meaningful say in what happens moving forward for our state,” he said. “Yeah, there is a little bit of effort that’s required. But we’re a country full of citizens in the citizenship of giving back and engaging in stepping up. I think it’s something that’s important.”

How to find your precinct

There are 2,500 precincts across Utah. The state GOP has set up a website to help people find their precinct and get preregistered.

Salt Lake County’s GOP chair Chris Null is in charge of that online portal.

“If they’ll pre-register, they can show the credentials that’ll be emailed to them and will also be on their phone. They can just show it to us, show their state photo ID and walk right in,” he said.

The party is also allowing people who can’t be there to vote absentee. Those who want to vote absentee will click a box on their registration form. Null said ballots can be filled in and then turned in with a spouse, neighbor, or to your precinct chair ahead of time.

Voters will also be required to photocopy their ID and send it in with their printed ballot.

“It’s really not that complicated,” said Null. “It might sound more complicated than going and driving and filling out a ballot at another location. It’s really the same process,” he said.

“There’s no way to get another ballot in there. If somebody, you know, sticks multiple ballots in an envelope or something like that, they all get spoiled.”

Tallying the votes will happen by hand

Axson and Null said the process of counting the votes will start at the precinct level, then those numbers get sent to the county party chair to aggregate, and then all the counties send their numbers up to the state party to tally.

“Our entire process of how these ballots will be counted, it’s done completely in the open, in front of everybody in their precinct,” said Axson.

Axson said he had full confidence in the security and accuracy of the vote tallies.

“So literally, any individual that participates, if they want to stick around for the counting of the ballots, will be able to watch that counting process in their precinct. And then they’ll see that final total number will match up with the final that is attributed to their precinct,” he said.

Axson acknowledged that caucus nights typically have lower turnout than primaries, but, he said the state GOP is trying to make it accessible.

“There’s (800,000)-plus registered Republicans in our state. We are inviting every single one to step up and to show up and be heard,” he said.

Unaffiliated voters can still register as Republicans to participate in their caucus. But it’s too late for anyone who wants to switch party affiliations to become a Republican.

Democrats are holding a primary for President, and ballots have already gone out for that. They are also holding a March 5 caucus night to select their delegates.

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How to participate in Utah GOP caucus night