Utah could offer the nation’s first presidential primary in 2016. The House voted 58-14 Monday to pass HB410, sending it to the Senate. The bill would allow Utah to hold a presidential primary a week before any other state — conducted solely by online voting. However, the early date could bring punishment from national political parties, which have rules to protect New Hampshire as the country’s first primary and Iowa as the first caucus.
For example, the Republican Party would cut Utah’s current delegation of 40 to just nine if it elects to go first. The Democratic Party has not adopted rules yet, but is expected to follow suit.
“We’ve created a system that is blatantly discriminatory. It creates second-class states,” said Rep. Jon Cox, R-Ephraim, sponsor of the bill.
He said Utah is far larger than New Hampshire, but no one pays attention to it in the presidential primary process. “Our influence is minimal, if at all,” he said.