Jan 8, 2024 - News

Deadline to switch party affiliations in Utah is looming

An illustration of a hand holding up a ballot surrounded by ballot imagery.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Most Utah voters have until Jan. 9 to change their political party affiliation if they want to participate in upcoming Republican primaries.

Why it matters: Because Republicans dominate statewide elections, some Democratic and unaffiliated voters participate in Utah's GOP closed primary elections to make their voices heard.

Context: In an effort to limit what critics call "party raiding," the Republican-dominated state Legislature approved a law in 2021 prohibiting party switching after March 31.

Flashback: In 2020, about 100,000 Utah voters changed their party affiliation to Republican in the six months leading up to the closely watched GOP gubernatorial primary, according to a study by Princeton University's Electoral Innovation Lab.

  • Yes, but: The surge in Republican registrations that year was fueled by unaffiliated voters, not Democrats, with the majority remaining as registered Republicans, researchers found.

What's next: Registered Republicans can participate in the presidential preference poll on Super Tuesday slated for March 5.

  • Other primaries — governor, attorney general, U.S. House and U.S. Senate — are scheduled for June 25.

Of note: Unaffiliated voters must register to vote by June 14 for the regular primaries to get a mail-in ballot.

Be smart: If you're interested in changing your party registration, but didn't receive a form in the mail to change it, you can fill one out online and drop it off at the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office by 5pm Jan. 9.

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