GOP submits Celeste Maloy for ballot amid registration debacle
Jul 5, 2023, 4:33 PM | Updated: Aug 19, 2023, 11:02 pm
(Laura Seitz/Deseret News)
This means she will be placed on the ballot in the special election race for Congress.
This afternoon, the Utah Republican Party submitted Celeste Maloy as its nominee for the vacancy in Utah’s Second Congressional District. pic.twitter.com/ru3rcCFPpE
— Vote Utah (@ElectionsUtah) July 5, 2023
It’s a significant step in the ongoing debate over Maloy’s Republican convention win and in the race to replace Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah.
Maloy’s registration status — and thus her Republican affiliation — wasn’t up to date on the day she declared her candidacy. She was on a removable voter list, which “has the effect of removing an eligible voter,” the Lt. Gov. clarified for the first time late Friday.
Maloy spoke to KSL NewsRadio on Wednesday about what she believed the day she filed. “I was registered Republican,” she said. “I didn’t know that someone changed me to inactive status without my knowledge.”
Maloy’s registration became current three days later, after the filing deadline but before she filed paperwork with the party to go through the convention path.
Maloy tells KSL NewsRadio that in her mind, her registration and affiliation never changed from 2018 when she last voted in Utah.
Utah’s legislature on Maloy’s status
“The lieutenant governor is obligated to…’ enforce compliance by election officers with all legal requirements relating to elections including…state law relating to elections,” the letter reads.
House Majority leader Mike Schultz tells KSL NewsRadio that he believes the Lt. Gov. should have disqualified Maloy.
“I wish this had been remedied before June 14 [the filing deadline],” he stressed. “But because it wasn’t, the Lieutenant Governor should have disqualified Maloy because the law says she has an obligation to [follow state law].”
Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, who oversees state elections, maintains she is only required to “read to the individual” their Congressional and state requirements and “require the individual to state” whether they met those.
Nothing in state law explicitly states her office is required to check a candidate’s registration status.
Schultz argues that it’s common practice for Lt. Gov.’s to do that, and they have historically. He said they are then charged with enforcing what they find.
Whether the legislature will take any action against the Lt. Gov., Schultz didn’t say.
“We haven’t had that conversation,” Schultz said.
The submission of Maloy’s name means the party believes she met their qualifications.
Wednesday evening, the GOP issued a statement.
TL;DR: She is the candidate. The LG said she is, so she is. The party can’t check voter rolls, they rely on LG. They can’t submit some else. Late submission was so “no stone was unturned.” pic.twitter.com/pOLFQ32P7T
— Lindsay Aerts (@LindsayOnAir) July 6, 2023
This story is developing and will be updated.