A group must follow the steps below in order to form a new political party in Utah. Please note that the information is not a substitute for Utah State Code, and it is not intended to be a comprehensive or an authoritative statement of law. If any inconsistency exists between this website and statute, the statutory language governs. Consult Utah State Code Title 20A Chapter 8 for more information on forming a political party.
Step 1: Determine the Party’s Name & Emblem
Your first step is to determine the party’s name and emblem (or logo). State law limits the names of political parties to a maximum of four words. State law also requires that the name and emblem are distinguishable from those of current political parties in the state. If the lieutenant governor believes that they are not distinguishable, you will be given 7 days to submit a new name and/or emblem. Once the organization is officially a political party, it cannot change its name or emblem during regular (even-year) general election cycles.
Step 2: Gather Petition Signatures
All organizations must gather 2,000 signatures from registered voters in Utah. Signatures must be holographic (physical) signatures, and digital signatures of any kind are not permitted. It is recommended that you collect more than 2,000 signatures because not every signature you collect will be valid.
You must compile petition packets for the petition. Each petition packet contains one cover page, multiple signature pages, and one circulator verification page. Packets must be bound together prior to circulation (typically by spiral binding or three staples across the top), and cannot be taken apart or rearranged once they are bound. Click here to download the petition packet template in Microsoft Word format, or click here for the PDF format.
Petition circulators must be 18 years or older and residents of Utah. If a circulator does not meet these requirements, the signatures they gathered are not valid. A circulator does not need to be registered to vote; however, election officials can easily verify a circulator’s age if they are registered to vote.
Circulators must complete and sign the circulator verification page of every petition packet they use to gather signatures. They cannot sign the signature pages of any petition packets they circulate—they must sign a petition packet of another circulator if they wish to sign the petition. Each petition packet must be used by only one circulator. If you have multiple circulators, they will each need their own packet(s).
You have a certain timeframe in which to gather signatures, and any signatures collected outside of this timeframe are invalid. This means that any signatures gathered for the 2018 general election cycle would not be valid for a petition for the 2020 general election cycle. Here are the signature gathering timeframes for upcoming election cycles:
2018 Election Cycle: November 29, 2016 - November 30, 2017
2020 Election Cycle: November 27, 2018 - December 2, 2019*
2022 Election Cycle: November 23, 2020 - November 30, 2021
*(November 30, 2019 falls on a Saturday, so the deadline is moved to the next business day)
Step 3: Submit Petition Signatures & Party Information
You have until November 30, 2017 to submit petition signatures to the Lieutenant Governor's Office for the 2018 election cycle. Please note that no signatures will be verified until you submit 2,000 signatures. Once you submit 2,000 signatures, the Lieutenant Governor’s Office will verify each petition signature within 30 days. Please note that the Lieutenant Governor’s Office cannot guarantee that signatures will be verified earlier.
You are encouraged to submit your petition packets earlier than the deadline. This will allow you to gather and submit more signatures if you fail to reach the required number of signatures with your first submission.
In addition to submitting petition signatures, you must also submit the following:
The contact information for a designated liaison between the political party and the Lieutenant Governor’s Office;
The identity of one or more registered political parties whose members may vote in the party’s primary elections;
Whether unaffiliated voters may vote in the party’s primary elections;
Whether the organization intends to be a Qualified Political Party or a Registered Political Party for the upcoming regular general election cycle; and
Copies of the party’s proposed bylaws and constitution.
A Qualified Political Party is a political party that meets the requirements of 20A-9-406. In short, a Qualified Political Party allows its candidates to pursue the party’s nomination by going through the party’s convention system and/or by gathering petition signatures. Conversely, a Registered Political Party’s candidates can pursue the party’s nomination only by gathering petition signatures.
Step 4: Submit Names of Party Officers, Constitution, & Bylaws
Once the petition has been verified, you have until March 1, 2018 to submit the political party’s official constitution, official bylaws, and the names and contact information of party officers. Refer to 20A-8-401(2) for a list of provisions that the party’s constitution or bylaws must contain.
Please note that any changes to the party’s liaison or party officers must be reported to the Lieutenant Governor’s Office within 7 days. Any changes to the bylaws or constitution must be reported within 14 days.
Step 5: Certification
After the reviewing the information and determining that all proper procedures have been completed, the Lieutenant Governor’s Office will issue a certificate naming the organization as a registered political party in Utah. Once the party is certified, it is subject to all rights and regulations of political parties. This includes financial disclosure requirements (click here for more information). The party can also receive contributions from the Election Campaign Fund, which is funded by contributions from Utah taxpayers on their state tax forms. Please contact the State Treasurer’s Office (801-538-1042) for more information.
Maintaining Registered Political Party Status
In order to maintain its status as a registered political party, an organization must participate in a regular general election and at least one of its candidates receives votes equal to or greater than 2% of the total votes cast for all candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives. Take the 2016 election for an example: at least one political party candidate needed 22,284 votes (2% of 1,114,170 total votes for U.S. House candidates) for the political party to maintain its registered status. Note that one candidate must reach this threshold; combining votes from multiple candidates to reach the threshold is not permitted.
If a new political party party fails to meet these requirements during its first election cycle, it will lose its registered political party status. You must follow the steps to become a registered political party again.
If a new political party meets these requirements during its first election cycle but fails to meet these requirements in a subsequent election cycle, it does not immediately lose its registered status. It will continue as a party until the next regular general election. However, if the party fails to meet these requirements for a second time, it will lose its registered status.