There’s still a push for Utah to play a bigger role in the 2016 presidential primary race, even though a bill to make the state’s election the first in the nation stalled in the Legislature. “By going first, I believe that Utah could finally show what all of us already know, that the emperors — Iowa and New Hampshire — have no clothes,” said Rep. Jon Cox, R-Ephraim, the sponsor of HB410. The bill, which passed the House but failed to get a vote in the Senate before the session ended, would have put an online Utah election ahead of Iowa’s caucuses and New Hampshire’s primary, traditionally the initial contests for White House contenders. Cox said no state should always be first in line, but until the national parties put an end to the practice, it will take a state like Utah going rogue to “finally allow us to discuss meaningful reform in the presidential nominating process.” Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who oversees state elections, said he backed the proposal.
“The political scientist in me thinks it’s a fascinating idea,” the lieutenant governor said, describing the bill as an attempt “to point out we do have a broken system and the absurdity of the system. This is one attempt to blow the system up.”
But the Senate co-sponsor of HB410, Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, said testing the state’s ability to hold an online election is more important than trying to be the first primary in 2016.
“I think that ended up being a distraction,” Bramble said.
He said he plans to work on the online voting portion of the bill over the legislative interim to help ensure support in the 2015 session.