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SB54 Survives First Legal Challenge
Count My Vote agreed to withdraw their ballot initiative campaign after the state legislature agreed to provide an alternative pathway to the ballot.

U.S. District Judge David Nuffer ruled Friday that he will not block a 2014 Utah law concerning political party nominations. Senate Bill 54 preserves Utah’s convention nominating system while allowing other candidates to get on the ballot through an alternative signature-based pathway.

Nuffer decreed the law will remain on the books pending a lawsuit from the state GOP. The Utah Republican Party claims that the law violates their right to decide nominations. Gov. Gary Herbert contends that the compromise that produced SB54 was key to pleasing opponents and supporters of the convention system.

“I have a concern with [open primaries] because it just kind of turns it over to the rich and famous and average guys like me can’t compete. Our representatives and senators had a concern about that and said, ‘Look, is there not a compromise?’” Herbert said. “They came up with one, I think, with the full intent of keeping the caucus convention system and yet still providing an opportunity for people to get on the ballot if they’re willing to go the extra mile.”

Peter Corroon, chairman of the state Democratic Party voiced his approval of the ruling, saying in a statement:

“We, along with Utahns of all political persuasions, support an alternative path to the ballot and believe an open elections system will provide increased opportunities for all voters to participate in the civic process.”