Utah's Convention System

In Utah their state conventions determine name(s) to appear on the primary election ballot. The candidate needs to get a certain percentage of the convention vote in order to be placed on the primary ballot. As a candidate you could gather signatures or rely on the delegate vote at the convention. Signatures have to be turned in two weeks ahead of the convention. The convention nominates two candidates for the primary ballot unless one candidate receives over half of the votes. A recent, Count My Vote Initiative allows candidates to bypass the convention by gathering enough signatures. If candidates choose only the convention path, they have no way of getting on the primary ballot if they don't come out of convention. If they have the required number of signatures, they are on the ballot no matter how the convention goes. Most candidates that gather signatures also go to the convention, but all of their eggs aren't in that basket. The candidates that choose only the convention are usually on the far right.

Some of the history of Utah's conventions provides interesting happenings. Governor Olene Walker went to the convention as a sitting governor with an 80% approval rating and couldn't even get through the convention to the primary. She would have won a primary handily if she had been able to run. After the Count My Vote Initiative, Senator Mitt Romney was able to get past a defeat at the convention by gathering enough signatures to be on the primary ballot, and then winning the primary. He was a previous presidential nominee. Oren Hatch a long-time US Senator had troubles at the convention. Sitting Senator Bennett was defeated in the convention by current Senator Mike Lee.

Return to: Open Primaries