State defends nominating system from GOP lawsuit

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah state attorneys are defending a new rule that allows candidates to bypass the caucus and convention system.

In court documents filed Monday, the state denies allegations from the Utah Republican Party that the change violates the party's right to choose its own candidates.

Party leaders sued in December to strike down the law, which was intended as a compromise between the Republican-dominated legislature and Count My Vote, a group pushing for a vote to abandon the caucus system.

Count My Vote leaders have said the caucus system is difficult to participate in and results in extremist candidates.

The rule preserves Utah's current system but allows candidates to participate in primary elections if they gather enough signatures.

The state's federal solicitor is handling the case after Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes recused himself.

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