Dear Friends of Liberty,
THE FALLOUT FROM SB54 IS NOW A KNOWN QUANTITY.
During our state convention last spring we resolved to get organized with a committee to review the bylaws and recommend changes that might need to be made. Since that time we have an added impetus to getting the bylaws reviewed, and that impetus is SB54, the Bramble Bill that was passed by the legislature last spring, granting to the Count My Vote group an alternative route to the primary ballot. We wrote about this legislation in a recent newsletter, so we don’t need to rehash the whole thing here. But there are certain things we do need to talk about.
SB54 leaves our party two possible roads to choose from. We can become a Registered Political Party under state law, and have to have each of our candidates gather signatures in varying amounts in order to have their names placed on the primary ballot. Or we can choose the route of being a Qualified Political Party, which gives candidates two options for getting their names on the ballot. They can gather signatures and/or they can be nominated in a state convention.
Of the two, I think it is a no‐brainer that we want to be a Qualified Political Party. This choice allows us to continue to nominate our candidates through the caucus and convention system, pretty much as we have been doing in the past.
The danger for either a Registered or Qualified party in Utah is that by gathering signatures, candidates can get their names on the primary ballot without any vetting process by the party itself. There is no way to ensure that these candidates would support our cause or adhere to our platform. And yet, such candidates might still be on the ballot with our CP logo by their names.
We see this as a violation of the sanctity of our trademark, and as a violation of our First Amendment right of free association (and the implicit right not to associate), and thus we are contesting in court the constitutionality of SB54, alongside the Republicans.
Though we had originally selected May 16th as the date for our state convention, we decided to delay the convention until after it became known from the State just exactly what we would have to do to maintain good standing with the Lt. Governor’s office and keep our ballot access. And we have been in no small turmoil about whether or not we should make any changes at all resultant to SB54. Given that our main contention is that government has no right to tell us (a private organization) with whom we will be associated, but that it is our right to choose with whom (in this case, which candidates) we are associated, and on what terms and conditions. We are concerned that by making certain changes, we thereby have voluntarily agreed to a new set of terms and conditions on which we will associate ourselves with various candidates. In legal parlance, this would mean that we have sacrificed the “justiciablity” of our case, and the suit could simply be dismissed on those grounds.
But now, since the publication by the State of “Senate Bill 54 (2014): Frequently Asked Questions,” we know what is required of us. Or at least we know what is the least that we can get by with. As I see it, the change is not onerous, and is one that we probably should have made long since.
Presently, from the Voting section of the bylaws we read:
C. Delegates at Conventions are entitled to vote if they are:
3. Present at the time of voting.
SB54 requires us to:
Permit delegates to vote remotely at the political party’s convention; or:
Provide a procedure for designating an alternate for a delegate who is not present at the convention.
We may consider modifying the bylaws simply to allow using proxy forms to designate another delegate to vote in the stead of one who cannot attend, or some variation on the theme. There are doubtless electronic means of accomplishing the same thing, but there are myriads of security, authentication and credentials problems we would have to deal with, to say nothing of the difficulty of using secret ballots for those in remote locations. Though we may well choose in the future to implement some sort of system for having remote attendees at a convention, I don’t think we could make this happen for us at a reasonable cost and in a reasonable amount of time, and certainly not in time for our upcoming convention.
Beyond that one single change (a change I would have been happy to have seen in years past), I at present think it unwise to make any further changes in our bylaws specifically to comply with a statute that we consider to be unconstitutional, and which we are fighting in court. To do so may be to run the risk of losing the justiciability of our case.
Lastly, let me close with crass frankness: We need your financial assistance. I believe we did get our February legal bill paid off, but we have another $2,251 due for March, and we are racking it up quite quickly in April. Can you please dig deep and help us with a donation to get this legal bill paid? A donation of $100, or even $50 would be a godsend to us. And we would be as grateful for even $5. Every little bit helps. It just takes a lot more small ones to do the job. Please, help us by clicking the donate button at the top of this newsletter or going to http://www.constitutionpartyofutah.com/donate‐today/ or by mailing a check to the Constitution Party of Utah, PO Box 1215, Layton, Utah 84041.
Chairman, Constitution Party of Utah
The Constitution Party of Utah believes in upholding the Constitution of the United States in the state of Utah. Join us to make your voice heard and participate in protecting our God given rights as guaranteed by the U. S. Constitution.