Party switching for special Congressional Election possible until Utah law changes

Jun 8, 2023, 10:08 PM | Updated: Jun 27, 2023, 3:27 pm

Utahns responded to a survey that will help state and local decision-making guide Utah's developmen...

The Utah State Capitol is shown on March 3, 2023, in Salt Lake City. This year, there are eight seats open on the Utah State Board of Education, and 20 candidates are hoping to fill them. (AP photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

(AP photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah will soon write some new election laws so that the state can push back municipal primary elections and hold a special election for Congressional District 2 on the same day.

That special session will happen next Wednesday. But until then, Utah’s law governing party switching in elections doesn’t apply to the municipal or special elections.

“Utah law right now does not contemplate [party switching] for odd year elections,” said Salt Lake County Clerk Lannie Chapman. 

And that means, any voter in Utah’s 2nd Congressional District who’s currently registered with one party is allowed to switch and register with a different political party in order to vote in whichever party’s primary they prefer — for now.

That would allow registered Democrats or independents in District 2 to be able to switch and vote in the GOP special election primary now slated for Sept. 5. Utah’s 2nd Congressional District leans heavily Republican, and the GOP primary is closed, meaning only registered members can cast a vote.

Party switching law

The law that governs party switching only applies in even year elections. In presidential years, the deadline to switch parties is “the day after declaration of candidacy deadline” (typically early January) and during midterm even-year elections the deadline is “April 1.”

Next Wednesday, the legislature will pass a new law governing party switching in the special election.

Rep. Cal Musselman is the chair of the Government Operations Interim Commitee and is sponsoring the bill lawmakers will take up. He tells KSL NewsRadio the affiliation switching deadline for the special election will come, “almost immediately” after the bill is signed.

Musselman argues that in a regular election, party switching is prohibited about 85-90 days from the primary election depending on the election year. He said the same type of standard should apply for the special election.

While there’s not 90 days before the special election Primary, Musselman said principal of limiting party switching shouldn’t be up for debate in special session, rather, the law should just be applied and the standard should be addressed when it can be appled to the broader elections. 

Lawmakers have been called to special session and the Governor’s agenda for that session allows for them to “establish the deadline by which a voter may change the voter’s political party affiliation” for the special election.

The voter registration deadline will apply to the special election like it does  in regular elections. That deadline for both the special and municipal elections must be 11 days before Election Day. This year’s voter registration deadline will be Aug. 25.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Politics + Government

someone taps on facebook icon, utah lawmakers working to protect kids from social media...

Curt Gresseth

Utah lawmaker talks about his work to shield kids from social media

State Sen. Mike McKell discusses the legislation he has sponsored to undo the harm to Utah children from social media.

7 hours ago

governor spencer and rep phil lyman shown, lyman is calling the signatures from cox's campaign into...

Peter Johnston

Governor candidate Phil Lyman calls for audit into Gov. Spencer Cox’s signatures

Rep. Phil Lyman is calling for an audit to look into whether the signatures Gov. Spencer Cox gathered should count.

8 hours ago

Wyoming has an artificial intelligence running for mayor....

Michael Camit

An artificial intelligence is running for mayor in Wyoming

An artificial intelligence running for mayor? Sounds like science fiction but it's happening in Wyoming in 2024.

14 hours ago

Supreme Court Police officers stand on duty outside of the Supreme Court building on Thursday, June...

MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press

The Supreme Court upholds a gun control law intended to protect domestic violence victims

The Supreme Court has upheld a federal gun control law on Friday with intentions to protect domestic violence victims.

17 hours ago

Image of Temple Mountain found on BLM land within Emery County, Utah. (Mike Coronella)...

Aimee Cobabe

Utah files lawsuit over BLM Public Lands Rule

In the lawsuit, Utah accuses the BLM of taking a "museum-like" approach to the state's public lands.

1 day ago

coal power plant in Delta, utah...

Alexandrea Bonilla and Kennedy Camerana

Special session addresses future coal needs in Utah

Lawmakers approved a bill that changes the ownership of a coal plant in Delta, Utah, thereby giving the state more control.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...


Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Party switching for special Congressional Election possible until Utah law changes