Ballot access requirements for political candidates in Utah

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This page contains extensive information about ballot access requirements for state and federal candidates running for elected office in the state of Utah. Offices included are:

This page contains information on specific filing dates for each election year, how to become a candidate, how to create a political party, campaign finance requirements, state agency contacts involved in the election process, and term limits in Utah. Information on running for election as a presidential candidate or for county and municipal offices is not included.

Note: If you have any questions or comments about this page, email us.

Year-specific dates

2014

See also: Utah elections, 2014

Utah held a primary election on June 24, 2014 and a general election on November 4, 2014. Voters elected candidates to serve in the following state and federal offices:

The 2014 filing deadline for partisan candidates participating in the primary and independent candidates participating in the general election was March 20, 2014.[1] The filing deadline for write-in candidates was October 6, 2014. The deadline to submit signatures in order to qualify as a political party for participation in the 2014 election was February 15, 2014.[2]

Legend:      Ballot access     Campaign finance     Election date




Dates and requirements for candidates in 2014
Deadline Event type Event description
February 15, 2014 Ballot access Deadline for a political party seeking official recognition to submit signatures
March 20, 2014 Ballot access Filing deadline for partisan and independent candidates
7 days before party convention Campaign finance Pre-convention Report due
June 17, 2014 Campaign finance Pre-primary Report due
June 24, 2014 Election date State Primary Date
September 2, 2014 Campaign finance August 31st report due
October 6, 2014 Ballot access Filing deadline for write-in candidates
October 28, 2014 Campaign finance Pre-general report due
November 4, 2014 Election date General election
January 12, 2015 Campaign finance Year-end report due

Political parties

See also: List of political parties in the United States

As of October 2013, there were four recognized political parties in Utah.[3]

Party Website link By-laws/platform link
Republican Party Official party website Party by-laws
Democratic Party Official party website Party by-laws
Libertarian Party Official party website Party by-laws
Constitution Party Official party website

In some states, a candidate may choose to have a label other than that of an officially recognized party appear alongside his or her name on the ballot. Such labels are called political party designations. A political party designation would be used when a candidate qualifies as an independent, but prefers to use a different label. Utah does allow candidates to identify in this way. A total of 25 states allow candidates to use political party designations in non-presidential elections.[4]

The 11 states listed below (and Washington, D.C.) do not provide a process for political organizations to gain qualified status in advance of an election. Instead, in these states, an aspirant party must first field candidates using party designations. If the candidate or candidates win the requisite votes, the organization may then be recognized as an official political party. In these states, a political party can be formed only if the candidate in the general election obtains a specific number of votes. The number of votes required and type of race vary from state to state. Details can be found on the state-specific requirements pages.[5]

Process to establish a political party

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Title 20A-8 of the Utah Election Code

In Utah, an organization of voters can seek to become a "registered political party" by submitting a petition with the Lieutenant Governor's Office. The petition must contain the signatures of at least 2,000 registered voters. The petition must also contain a statement declaring the name of the political party.[6] The petition, in addition to the required signatures, must also contain the proposed party's name, which must not exceed four words, and party emblem.[7][8] The party name and emblem must also be distinguishable between the name and emblem of another registered political party.[9]

If the prospective party already has a constitution and bylaws, they should be filed with the petition. If not, the organization should describe the process it will follow to adopt a constitution and bylaws should it become a registered party.[10] A petition by an organization of voters seeking registered political party status must be submitted no later than February 15 of the year in which a regular general election will be held.[11]

Bylaws and party organization

  • Each political party seeking registration must provide the Lieutenant Governor with a copy of its constitution and bylaws within 15 days of being adopted. The constitution and bylaws must include provisions establishing party organization, structure, membership, and governance. This will include:
    • A description of the position, selection process, qualifications, duties, and terms of each party officer and committees defined by constitution and bylaws;
    • A provision requiring a designated party officer to serve as liaison with the Lt. Governor's Office and county offices;
    • A description of the requirements for participation in party processes, including:
      • The dates, times, and quorum of any regularly scheduled party meetings, conventions, or other conclaves; and
      • A mechanism for making the names of delegates, candidates, and elected party officers available to the public shortly after they are selected;
    • A procedure for selecting party officers that allows active participation by party members;
    • A procedure for selecting party candidates at the federal, state, and county levels that allows active participation by party members;
    • A procedure for selecting electors who are pledged to cast their votes in the electoral college for the party's candidates for president and vice president;
    • A procedure for filling vacancies in the office of presidential elector because of death, refusal to act, failure to attend, ineligibility, or any other cause;
    • A procedure for filling vacancies in the office of representative or senator or a county office, because of death, resignation, or ineligibility;
    • A provision requiring the governor and lieutenant governor to run as a joint ticket;
    • A procedure for replacing party candidates who die, acquire a disability that prevents the candidate from continuing the candidacy, or are disqualified before a primary or regular general election;
    • Provisions governing the deposit and expenditure of party funds, and governing the accounting for, reporting, and audit of party financial transactions;
    • Provisions governing access to party records;
    • A procedure for amending the constitution or bylaws that allows active participation by party members or their representatives;
    • A process for resolving grievances against the political party.[12]

Maintaining party status

In order to retain "registered political party" status, one or more of the party's candidates for any office must poll a total vote equal to two percent or more of the total votes cast for all candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives in the same regular general election.[13][14] For informational purposes, the table below provides an example of the total votes needed to maintain registered political party status based upon 2012 general election results.

Total votes cast for U.S. House in Utah (2012) Percentage of total votes needed for any candidate for any office Number of votes needed to maintain registered political party status
1,028,786[15] 2% 20,576

Process to become a candidate

Quick facts about Lieutenant Governors
  • 45 states have Lt. governors, 43 of them fill the office by election
  • 21 states, including Utah, elect Lt. governors on a single ticket with the governor at both the primary and general elections
  • 5 states elect Lt. governors separately from Governors at the primary and then put the top two vote-getters together on the general election ballot
  • 17 states elect Lt. governors separately from the Governor

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Title 20A-9 of the Utah Election Code

Partisan candidates

  • Candidates must first file a declaration of candidacy in person with either the Lieutenant Governor's Office or the county clerk in the candidate's county of residence and pay the filing fee before 5 p.m. on the third Thursday in March.[16]
  • Party candidates must provide a certified copy of the declaration of candidacy to the chair of the county or state political party of which the candidate is a member.
  • Party candidates must also file a pledge of fair campaign practices form with the Lt. Governor's Office.[17] They must also provide a certified copy of the candidate's pledge to the chair of the county or state political party of which the candidate is a member.[18]
  • At the same time of filing a declaration of candidacy form, candidates must also pay a filing fee. The filing fee is $50 plus one-eighth of one percent of the total salary for the full term of office that the candidate is seeking.[19]
  • A person who is unable to pay the filing fee may file a declaration of candidacy without payment of the filing fee upon a showing of "impecuniosity" (i.e., lacking sufficient funds) as evidenced by an affidavit of impecuniosity filed with the filing officer and, if requested by the filing officer, a financial statement filed at the time the affidavit is submitted.[20]
  • State law grants registered political parties a role in the election process by giving them the right to have their nominees appear with party endorsement on the general election ballot.[21]
    • For example, the Republican and Democratic parties in Utah use a "convention-primary" system, found in their respective constitutions, to confer the nomination of their candidates through a state or local convention by requiring candidates receive a certain percentage of the party convention's delegate vote.[22][23]
2014 qualifications and filing fees for state office candidates
Office Qualifications Filing fee
Governor U.S. citizen; 30 years old at time of election; Resident of Utah for 5 years; Qualified voter at time of election $536.00
Lt. Governor U.S. citizen; 30 years old at time of election; Resident of Utah for 5 years; Qualified voter at time of election $509.20
Attorney General U.S. citizen; 25 years old at time of election; Resident of Utah for 5 years; Admitted to practice before the Utah Supreme Court; Good standing with the Utah Bar $509.20
State Treasurer U.S. citizen; 25 years old at time of election; Resident of Utah for 5 years; Qualified voter at time of election $509.20
State Auditor U.S. citizen; 25 years old at time of election; Resident of Utah for 5 years; Qualified voter at time of election $509.20
State School Board Resident of the state school board district in which the person is seeking election for at least one year as of the date of the election; Qualified voter at time of election $15.00
State Senate U.S. citizen; 25 years old at time of election; Resident of Utah for 3 consecutive years; 6 consecutive month resident of the Senate district at filing deadline; Qualified voter at time of election $29.20
State House U.S. citizen; 25 years old at time of election; Resident of Utah for 3 consecutive years; 6 consecutive month resident of the House district at filing deadline; Qualified voter at time of election $14.60

Independent candidates

  • Candidates who do not wish to affiliate with a ballot-approved political party may appear on the ballot by submitting a petition and a certificate of nomination form.
  • Candidates for the office of Governor must submit a petition with the signatures of at least 1,000 registered Utah voters.[24]
  • Candidates for the U.S. Senate must submit a petition with the signatures of at least 1,000 registered Utah voters. Candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives must submit a petition with the signatures of at least 300 registered voters residing within the congressional district or at least five percent of the registered voters residing within a congressional district, whichever is less.[25]
  • Candidates for the Utah House of Representatives or State Senate must submit a petition with the signatures of at least 300 registered voters residing within the political division or at least 5% of the registered voters residing within a political division, whichever is less.[24]
  • The names on the petition must be verified by the county clerk(s) as registered voters.[24]
  • After the petition has been verified, candidates for state office are required to file the same petition and a Certificate of Nomination for candidates with the Lt. Governor's Office by the third Thursday in March.[24]

For informational purposes, the table below provides examples for signature requirements based upon 2012 voter registrations.

Signature requirements for independent candidates for state legislature
Office sought Total registered voters in legislative district Signature requirements (five percent of registered voters or 300, whichever is less)
State House District 73 3,928 197
State House District 69 9,629 300
State Senate District 19 5,768 289
State Senate District 29 67,505 300

Write-in candidates

  • To become a valid write-in candidate for a state office, an individual must file a Declaration of Write-In Candidacy no later than 30 days before the regular general election. The most recent general election was on November 4, 2014.[24]
  • Candidates for statewide offices must file the declaration in person with the Lieutenant Governor's Office. All other state office candidates may file the declaration in person either with the county clerk in their county of residence or with the Lieutenant Governor's Office.[24]

Petition requirements

In some cases, political parties and/or candidates may need to obtain signatures via the petition process to gain access to the ballot. This section outlines the laws and regulations pertaining to petitions and circulators in Utah.

Petition circulators must be 18 years old and be residents of Utah.[26]

New party qualification petitions

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Title 20A-8-103 of the Utah Election Code

New party qualification petitions must include language substantially the same as the following:[27]

PETITION TO FORM NEW POLITICAL PARTY

To the Honorable ____, Lieutenant Governor: We, the undersigned citizens of Utah, seek registered political party status for ____ (name); Each signer says:
I have personally signed this petition with a holographic signature;
I am registered to vote in Utah or will register to vote in Utah before the petition is submitted to the lieutenant governor;
I am or desire to become a member of the political party; and
My street address is written correctly after my name."[27][28]

The final page of the petition to form a new political party will contain the following language and include a verification of the signatures on the petition:

VERIFICATION OF SIGNATURES OF NEW POLITICAL PARTY PETITION

State of Utah, County of ____

I, _______________, of ____, hereby state that:

I am a Utah resident and am at least 18 years old;

All the names that appear on the signature sheets bound to this page were signed by persons who professed to be the persons whose names appear on the signature sheets, and each of them signed the person's name on the signature sheets in my presence;

I believe that each has printed and signed the person's name and written the person's street address correctly, and that each signer is registered to vote in Utah or will register to vote in Utah before the petition is submitted to the lieutenant governor.

______________________________________________________________________
(Signature) (Residence Address) (Date)"[29][28]

Qualifying petitions for independent candidates

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Title 20A-9-502 of the Utah Election Code

Only independent candidates must submit a petition containing signatures in order to run for office. The petition must also be signed by a notary public and follow the language below:

CERTIFICATE OF NOMINATION (FOR INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES)

"State of Utah, County of ______________________________________________

I, ______________, declare my intention of becoming an unaffiliated candidate for the political group designated as ____ for the office of ____. I do solemnly swear that I can qualify to hold that office both legally and constitutionally if selected, and that I reside at ____ Street, in the city of ____, county of ____, state of ______, zip code ____, phone ____, and that I am providing, or have provided, the required number of holographic signatures of registered voters required by law; that as a candidate at the next election I will not knowingly violate any election or campaign law; I will file all campaign financial disclosure reports as required by law; and I understand that failure to do so will result in my disqualification as a candidate for this office and removal of my name from the ballot. __________________________________________

Subscribed and sworn to before me this ______(month\day\year).

__________________________________________

Notary Public (or other officer qualified to administer oaths)"[30][28]

Campaign finance

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Title 20A, Chapter 11 "Campaign Financial Reporting Requirements"

A "candidate" who is required to file campaign finance reports means any person who:

  • Files a declaration of candidacy for a public office.
  • Receives contributions, makes expenditures, or gives consent for any other person to receive contributions or make expenditures to bring about the person's nomination or election to a public office.[31]

After becoming a candidate as outlined above, candidates for public office are required to report contributions received and expenditures made to bring about their nomination or election. These reports must be received in the Lieutenant Governor's Office by close of business on the due date.[32] Candidates are required to file financial disclosure reports electronically by using the Utah Campaign Finance Disclosures website.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; refs with no content must have a name

Campaign finance requirements for candidates
Each state office candidate shall select no more than one personal campaign committee, consisting of one or more persons, to receive contributions, make expenditures, and file reports connected with the candidate's campaign. A state office candidate may serve as his own campaign committee.[33] The state office candidate shall file a written statement signed by the candidate or authorized member of the candidate's personal campaign committee with the lieutenant governor that informs the lieutenant governor that the state office candidate's personal campaign committee has been selected and provides the name and address of each member and the secretary of the committee.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; refs with no content must have a name

The candidate will file interim campaign finance reports in any year in which the candidate has filed a declaration of candidacy form for public office. Each report must include the following information:

  • The net balance of the last summary report, if any.
  • A single figure equal to the total amount of receipts reported on all prior interim reports, if any, during the calendar year in which the interim report is due.
  • A single figure equal to the total amount of expenditures reported on all prior interim reports, if any, filed during the calendar year in which the interim report is due.
  • A detailed listing of each contribution and public service assistance received since the last summary report that has not been reported in detail on a prior interim report.
  • For each non-monetary contribution:
    • The fair market value of the contribution with that information provided by the contributor; and
    • A specific description of the contribution.
  • A detailed listing of each expenditure made since the last summary report that has not been reported in detail on a prior interim report;
  • For each non-monetary expenditure, the fair market value of the expenditure.
  • A net balance for the year consisting of the net balance from the last summary report, if any, plus all receipts since the last summary report minus all expenditures since the last summary report.[34]
  • Each state office candidate and the candidate's campaign committee is active and subject to year-end summary reporting requirements until the candidate has filed a statement of dissolution with the Lieutenant Governor stating that:
    • The candidate or campaign committee is no longer receiving contributions and is no longer making expenditures.
    • The ending balance on the last summary report filed is zero and the balance in the separate bank account is zero.
    • A final summary report showing a zero balance is attached to the statement of dissolution.[35]
  • A state office candidate who fails to file a financial statement by the deadline is subject to fines.[36]

There are no statutory limits placed on campaign contributions in Utah.

Campaign finance reporting schedule
Report type Due date Report contents
Received Contributions Within 30 days of receiving a contribution This report includes "Received Contributions" which have not been reported in any of the required reports listed below.
Pre-Convention 7 days before the party convention Expenditures and contributions as of 5 days before the due date.
Pre-Primary 7 days before the primary election Expenditures and contributions since the last report as of 5 days before the due date.
August 31st report August 31st of even numbered years Expenditures and contributions since the last report as of 5 days before the due date.
Pre-General Election 7 days before the general election Expenditures and contributions since the last report as of 5 days before the due date.
Year-End January 10th of every year All expenditures and contributions since the last report through December 31st.
Final Anytime Statement of dissolution, final summary report with a zero balance.

Election-related agencies

See also: State election agencies

Candidates running for office will require some form of interaction with the following agencies:

  • State of Utah Elections Office
Why: This agency provides and processes nominating petitions, declaration of candidacy forms and campaign finance forms and reports.
Office of the Lt. Governor
State Capitol, Suite 220
350 N. State Street
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114
Phone: 801.538.1041
Fax: 801.538.1133
Website: https://web.archive.org/web/2/http://elections.utah.gov/index.html
E-Mail: elections@utah.gov

Counties

See also: Counties in Utah

Candidates may obtain a number of documents with the county elections office in the county they reside in. Independent candidates will need to obtain and file their documents with their respective county clerks. Individual county contact information can be found below.

Term limits

State executives

Portal:State Executive Officials
See also: State executives with term limits and States with gubernatorial term limits

There are no state executive positions with certain provisions specifying the number of terms allowed.

State legislators

See also: State legislatures with term limits

There are no term limits placed on Utah state legislators.

Congressional partisanship

Portal:Congress
See also: List of United States Representatives from Utah and List of United States Senators from Utah

Here is the current partisan breakdown of the congressional members from Utah:

Congressional Partisan Breakdown from Utah
Party U.S. Senate U.S. House Total
     Democratic Party 0 0 0
     Republican Party 2 4 6
TOTALS as of January 2015 2 4 6

State legislative partisanship

Portal:State legislatures

Here is the current partisan breakdown of members of the state legislature of Utah:

State Senate

Party As of January 2015
     Democratic Party 4
     Republican Party 23
     Vacancy 2
Total 29

State House

Party As of January 2015
     Democratic Party 13
     Republican Party 62
Total 75


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See also

External links

Official state and federal links

Forms

Other information

References

  1. Utah Lieutenant Governor's Office, "How to Become a Candidate," accessed November 6, 2013
  2. Ballotpedia phone call with Lieutenant Governor's Office of Utah, October 9, 2013
  3. Utah Lieutenant Governor's Office, "Registered Political Parties," accessed November 8, 2013
  4. Utah Code, "Title 20A Chapter 9 Section 502," accessed December 5, 2013
  5. E-mail consultation with ballot access expert Richard Winger in January 2014.
  6. Utah Election Code, "Title 20A-8-101," accessed March 3, 2014
  7. Utah Election Code, "Title 20A-8-103," accessed March 4, 2014
  8. Utah Lieutenant Governor's Office, "Becoming a Political Party," accessed March 4, 2014
  9. Utah Election Code, "Title 20A-8-103," accessed March 7, 2014
  10. Utah Election Code, "Title 20A-8-103," accessed March 4, 2014
  11. Utah Election Code, "Title 20A-8-103(2)(a)," accessed March 3, 2014
  12. Utah Election Code, "Title 20A-8-401," accessed March 4, 2014
  13. Utah Election Code, "Title 20A-8-102," accessed March 3, 2014
  14. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named utpartyname
  15. Utah Lieutenant Governor's Office, "2012 Utah General Election Results," accessed March 4, 2014
  16. Utah Code, "Candidate Qualifications and Nominating Procedures," accessed November 1, 2013
  17. Utah Election Code, "Title 20A-9-206," accessed March 5, 2014
  18. Utah Code, "Candidate Qualifications and Nominating Procedures," accessed November 1, 2013
  19. Utah Election Code, "Title 20A-9-201," accessed March 5, 2014
  20. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named utdeclaration
  21. Utah Election Code, "Title 20A-9-701," accessed March 6, 2014
  22. Utah Republican Party, "UT Republican Party Official Constitution, Article 12, Section 2(J)," accessed March 6, 2014
  23. Utah Democratic Party, "UT Democratic Party Official Constitution, Article 2, Section 4," accessed March 6, 2014
  24. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named utstate
  25. Utah Lieutenant Governor's Office, "Becoming a Federal Candidate," accessed March 12, 2014
  26. Utah Election Code, "Title 20A-9-502," accessed March 5, 2014
  27. 27.0 27.1 Utah Election Code, "Title 20A-8-103," accessed March 3, 2014
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  29. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named declaration
  30. Utah Election Code, "Title 20A-9-502," accessed March 5, 2014
  31. Utah Election Code, "Title 20A-11-101(3)," accessed March 5, 2014
  32. Utah Lt. Governor's Office, "Disclosure Requirements," accessed March 5, 2014
  33. Utah Election, "Title 20A-11-202," accessed March 5, 2014
  34. Utah Election Code, "Title 20A-11-204," accessed March 5, 2014
  35. Utah Election Code, "Title 20A-11-205," accessed March 6, 2014
  36. Utah Election Code, "Title 20A-11-206," accessed March 6, 2014