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Utah to hold presidential preference caucus

By Ashley Moser  |  Posted Feb 24th, 2016 @ 8:41am


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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah voters are breaking tradition. For the first time next month, instead of a presidential primary election like years past, Utah will hold a presidential preference caucus.

On March 22, Utah will use political party run caucuses to determine which presidential candidates will get the state's support at party nominating conventions this summer. Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics, said it is something parties and voters are prepared for.

"This is an earlier version of a presidential primary in the state of Utah," Perry said. "If you are a person that would normally show up for a primary to cast your vote ... this is your chance to do it!"

The decision to switch to a caucus format happened in 2015 when lawmakers decided not to fund a $3 million presidential primary.

"That money was not allocated this year to do the presidential primary. The parties had to figure out something to do. They have also been looking for an opportunity to do this a little earlier in the process," Perry said.

In years past primaries have been in June. The caucuses are three months earlier. Perry believes by making that change more voters will get involved.

"This is a chance where everybody starts feeling like they are engaged in someway and that's really the motivation behind these caucuses, as well is to get people involved," said Perry.

How to vote

Republican voters need to register online by March 15 to be able to vote in the presidential caucus.

Those who want to vote for a Democratic candidate will have to attend a Democratic caucus meeting. Unlike the Republicans, voters will not have to be a member of the party.

Click here to find out where your caucus will be on March 22.

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