DAVE & DUJANOVIC

Are you a registered Utah Democrat seeking to vote in the Republican primaries? Deadline is midnight tonight to switch

Mar 31, 2022, 4:31 PM
Utah Republican primaries and party affiliation...
A women inserts her ballot in a ballot drop box Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Photo credit: Rick Bowmer, Associated Press.

SALT LAKE CITY — The deadline to switch your political party affiliation to vote in Utah Republican primaries is midnight tonight. 

Republican Rep. Jordan Teuscher’s bill,  H.B.197,  passed the House and Senate early last year and was signed into law by Gov. Spencer Cox. The law set a deadline to switch party affiliations to vote in the GOP primaries months before the vote takes place.

The lawmaker joined Dave Noriega and guest host Leah Murray to discuss his reasons for pushing the bill.

Unwelcome influence in Utah Republican primaries

“If you have people coming in [to vote] who don’t believe in those same values, that don’t ascribe to the party platform or beliefs, to come in and pick who the nominee of that party is, that really undermines the process,” Teuscher said.

In the 2020 Republican primary, more than 20,000 registered Democrats in Utah switched their affiliation to vote in that race, Teuscher said.

“If you look at some of those races, like for example, the governor’s race, that primary was only won by 6,000 votes,” Teuscher said, referring to when now-Gov. Spencer Cox defeated former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. 

“This came after calls from prominent members of the Democratic Party to do what they called the unthinkable — to hold their nose and strategically register as members of the opposite party,” he added.

Teuscher also pointed out the deadline only applies to those registered with a party right now.

“So if you’re an unaffiliated voter, and you want to vote in the Republican primary, you can still register up to the day of the election,” he said.

What about the moderates?

Dave said critics point out a flaw in the primary election of discouraging the more moderate candidate and rewarding the more extreme candidates.

“Do you see [limiting party participation as] being problematic for the moderates who are trying to bridge some of those gaps between Republicans and liberals?” he asked.

“I don’t think so,” Teuscher said. “I really feel like if if these Democrats . . . put their efforts — rather than trying to recruit people to register in the Republican Party to change the outcome — into building up their party and maybe looking at their own policies and say, ‘Hey, maybe we need to change. Maybe we need to moderate so that our candidates are more marketable in the general election.’ They’d be much better served.”

“I completely agree with the representative on his last point,” Murray said. ” It’s very short-term gaming to only be thinking about this election.”

“The moderate plays much better in the general election than a primary election,” Dave said. “So why are Republicans and Democrats across the country so reluctant to learn that lesson?”

Related:

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Are you a registered Utah Democrat seeking to vote in the Republican primaries? Deadline is midnight tonight to switch