POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Plan to run for office as a write-in candidate in Utah? One lawmaker says not so fast

Feb 9, 2024, 7:00 AM

FILE: Sen. Dan McCay speaks at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024. McCay has pr...

FILE: Sen. Dan McCay speaks at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024. McCay has proposed a bill that would prevent someone from filing to run for office twice in the same year if the second time is a write-in candidacy. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

(Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY– If you lost a primary election,  Sen. Dan McCay, R-Salt Lake City, says you shouldn’t be able to run for office again in the same year, on a write-in campaign.

McCay is proposing a bill that would prevent someone from filing to run for office twice in the same year if the second time is a write-in candidacy.

“It would prevent an individual from having another bite of the apple, so to speak,” McCay told Utah’s Morning News, “during that election year.”

This run for office is a recent Utah precedent

In 2022, then-Rep. Steve Handy from Layton waged a write-in campaign after losing a caucus vote to current Rep. Trevor Lee, R – Salt Lake City. Handy appeared on the ballot but ultimately lost the general election.

“I love Steve, I think he’s fantastic,” said McCay. “This certainly isn’t about him, it’s just more about the multiple bites of the apple.”

According to McCay, the state already gives candidates plenty of options.

“We already have a system that allows you to go the caucus path or the signature path,” said McCay.

The bill could also stop presidential candidates from trying for a re-do campaign in Utah this November, should they lose the primary election.

“Just to add themselves later to the ballot after [losing the primary],” said McCay, “It just feels counter-intuitive to our election process.”

Related: A tale of two Steves: Davis County voters face confusion over two write-in’s named Steve

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Plan to run for office as a write-in candidate in Utah? One lawmaker says not so fast