Utah Republican Party opts out of 2024 presidential primary

Aug 16, 2023, 5:54 PM | Updated: Aug 17, 2023, 11:00 am

FILE: Citizens crowd in classrooms at Mt. Logan Middle School in Logan, Utah a Republican caucus me...

FILE: Citizens crowd in classrooms at Mt. Logan Middle School in Logan, Utah a Republican caucus meeting. Both major parties in Utah will hold a caucus next Tuesday, March 5. (Sterling Morris)

(Sterling Morris)

SALT LAKE CITY — Registered Republicans in Utah better clear their schedules for March 5, 2024, if they want a say in who will be the party’s nominee for President.

Utah Republican Party Chair Robert Axson has informed the Lt. Governor’s Office that they will forgo the primary next March, in lieu of conducting a “presidential preference poll” during their caucus night on Super Tuesday.

Lindsay Aerts joins us at 9:05!


Lt Gov Presidential Preference Poll Letter by Simone Seikaly on Scribd


Axson told KSL NewsRadio that the reason is threefold: it saves taxpayer money by not running an election, it makes the caucus system more meaningful because more people will attend, and this is a “nice incentive,” and it incentivizes presidential candidates to come to Utah to earn support.

“Antiquated, unaccountable relic”

Those opposed to the caucus system believe it disenfranchises busy, working people who have family commitments, as well as those who live out of state or can’t attend. To them, voting by mail in a primary election solves those problems.

One critic of the move called the caucus path, “antiquated, insecure, and an unaccountable relic of last century.”

Axson said the party is still working through details, but said people who can’t attend can still cast a vote.

“We have an apparatus in place … [where we’ve] … permitted folks to provide a proxy vote,” he said.

“So somebody could submit a vote … that they could then have brought into caucus via a family member or a neighbor in a case where they cannot attend.”

Axson didn’t say specifically how they would conduct the voting or keep it secure.  But he said that in the past they’ve allowed for a photocopy of an ID with a signature accompanying the person’s vote.

“For deployed military and things there would be an online portal for that,” Axson said.

Axson said the votes would be tallied by a precinct chair, who would pass those up the chain. All the precincts in those districts would then be compiled by the county party, then up to the state party to aggregate.

“We will have a very clear counting process … as well as (a process) for it to be seen and done transparently,” he said.

Not their first presidential poll

Axson said the party conducted a presidential poll in 2016.

“It worked out in 2016, we had the results later that night. I’m confident we will have the logistics worked out,” he said. “We’ve seen that it was a benefit for the state and it created additional engagement.”

The head of the group that created Utah’s signature-gathering path to the ballot, Count My Vote blasted the move.

“The caucus convention process is antiquated, insecure, and an unaccountable relic of last century,” said Executive Director Taylor Morgan in a statement. 

Morgan has criticized the party in the past for not doing enough to get voters engaged in caucus nights.

“By opting out of Utah’s official voting methods and all election security protections, the [Utah GOP] will limit participation in the 2024 Republican presidential primary.”

You can find the full interview with Robert Axson on KSL at Night below.

Taylor Morgan is a host for KSL at Night and is employed by the company that owns KSL NewsRadio.

Other reading:

We want to hear from you.

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

Politics + Government

A man holds a passport in front of a world map. Expansions of passport services are on their way ac...

Kyle Remund

Salt Lake City to get a passport agency

Currently, Utahns have to travel out of state to reach a passport agency. That is set to change with the announcement of an agency in SLC.

6 hours ago

People outside the Supreme Court, supporting the DACA program. A Utah immigration attorney said Bid...

Aimee Cobabe and Emma Keddington

Utah immigration attorney breaks down Biden’s executive action aimed to help immigrants

Local immigration attorney Carlos Trujillo said these changes will impact thousands of people here in Utah.

14 hours ago

A small group gathered outside the committee room to protest agains HB261 prior to Senate members o...

Josuee Sanchez

Complaint hotline for DEI law already receiving false complaints

The DEI law hotline has received 27 false complaints in the last week, but that's far less than a hotline associated with a bathroom bill received.

17 hours ago

Mail-in ballots being sorted...

Don Brinkerhoff

Nonprofit working to build trust in Utah elections

Trust Utah Elections, a new nonprofit, is working to help Utahns have confidence in the state's election process.

24 hours ago

File photo of a Utah elementary school. The School Safety Security Task Force met Monday, June 17, ...

Briana Chavez

School Safety Security Task Force discuss new requirements for schools as part of new bill

One of the biggest requirements includes a school safety needs assessment. Each school in the state must fill one out.

2 days ago

drivers memorial day...

Curt Gresseth

Is it time for Utah to bring back photo cop to bust speeders?

A Utah lawmaker joins the show to discuss a possible return of photo radar to bust speeders.

2 days 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.

Utah Republican Party opts out of 2024 presidential primary