POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

One more day to officially switch political parties in Utah

Jan 8, 2024, 2:00 PM | Updated: 4:35 pm

Cooper Brannon, 8, watches his father, Austin, vote at the Salt Lake County Government Center in Sa...

Cooper Brannon, 8, watches his father, Austin, vote at the Salt Lake County Government Center in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2023. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

(Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Those who are currently registered with a political party in Utah have one more day to switch that affiliation if they so desire.

This year, the deadline is 5 p.m. on Jan. 9, 2024. 

The date is important for anybody who wants to participate in the Republican caucus on March 5. On that date, Utah Republicans will determine which Republican presidential candidate they are backing. 

“It’s significant because if you want to vote for the Republican nominee for president, you have to be a registered Republican,” said KSL TV reporter Lindsay Aerts.

How to change your political party in Utah

In Salt Lake County, there are a couple of different ways to make the change, said County Clerk Lannie Chapman. You can download a form at the elections section of the clerk’s webpage.

“Sign it and email it back to me. (Or) you can take a picture of it and text it back to us,” she said. “Or if you’re out and about you are always welcome to come down to my office and fill out a form in person.”

Chapman also said that these rules for party switching apply mostly to Utah Republicans. “The Democratic Party,” she said, “is an open party, meaning that anybody can request a ballot for their primary and vote it.”

In 2021, Utah lawmakers enacted HB197, which created a deadline for voters who wished to change their party affiliation ahead of the primary election.

How common is it to switch parties?

A Pew Research study found that voters who switch parties are somewhat rare. Their examination of research conducted in 2018 found that “one in five voters made at least some change in their partisanship.” The Pew research also found that these switches didn’t benefit either major American political party.

Chapman’s assessment of voters switching parties in Utah is similar. “I’m not seeing significant uptakes and people switching back and forth in any given year,” she said.

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