State Sen. Scott Jenkins is firing the first shot in a legislative battle that may dilute or overturn a new law that changes how parties select their nominees.
Jenkins unveiled a bill, SB43, to erase a new requirement for parties appearing on the ballot to allow independent voters to participate in their primary elections. Democrats have allowed that for years, but the Utah GOP, beginning in 2002, closed its primaries to everyone except registered Republicans.
It’s a big deal because 43.6 percent of Utah voters are now unaffiliated, compared to 45.5 percent who are registered as Republicans and 9.4 percent registered as Democrats. If the nearly half of Utahns who are independents can’t vote in primaries, they have no say about who appears on the general-election ballot.