SALT LAKE CITY — State attorneys Friday opposed the United Utah Party's request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in its lawsuit seeking access to the 3rd Congressional District special election ballot.
The state argues in a federal court filing that its rules for becoming a registered political party are reasonable and necessary to conduct orderly and fair elections.
"And, allowing prospective political parties to circumvent these requirements has effects well beyond a particular election," according to a memorandum filed in U.S. District Court.
The state should be allowed to ensure full compliance with the requirements before allowing a United Utah Party candidate to appear on the general election ballot.
The United Utah Party sued Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox regarding his order to call a special election, requesting that Cox be prohibited from keeping the party's candidate from the ballot once its bylaws are verified. Cox's office oversees state elections.
United Utah officials announced the formation of the new party and submitted the necessary voter signatures on May 25, the day before the candidate filing deadline for the special election to replace former Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who resigned June 30.
The state has 30 days to process a request by a new political party. The elections office rejected United Utah co-founder Jim Bennett's candidate application because it had not recognized the party by the May 26 candidate filing deadline.