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Bill Allowing Prospective Candidates To File For Candidacy Remotely Moves To House

Utah lawmakers on Friday advanced a measure that would let prospective candidates for political office get on the ballot, even if they can't file in person. 

Rep. Craig Hall's House Bill 113 would give individuals temporarily outside of Utah the option to file electronically, as long as they appeared before an elections official via a video link.

The bill would fix a problem encountered by Dr. Chia-Chi Teng, a Brigham Young University professor who wanted to run in the special election to replace Rep. Jason Chaffetz in Utah's third congressional district last November.

Teng was in China during the filing period and sent his son to the Lieutenant Governor's office in his stead. He also appeared via video on his son's phone. But Teng's candidacy was rejected due to state code that says prospective candidates must file in the flesh. 

In a meeting of the  House Government Operations Committee, Hall said his bill was about modernizing state election processes.

"We're in 2018 now and there's just no reason why we should not allow these individuals to file remotely," Hall said.

House Bill 113 received the unanimous endorsement of the committee. It now moves to the House Floor.