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Under the framework in SB54s2, a candidate running for statewide office would need signatures from 28,000 voters to get on the primary ballot.
A quarter of that number would be needed to run for one of the four congressional district seats. State Senate candidates would need 2,000 signatures and House candidates would need half that number.
The signatures could come from any registered voter, regardless of party.
Rep. John Mathis, R-Vernal, said it was "troublesome" how few signatures would be needed to get on the primary ballot in rural counties. The bill requires candidates to gather signatures from 3 percent of the registered voters. In places like Daggett County, that is just a few dozen or, as Mathis put it, "a family home evening group getting together."
Bramble acknowledged there were problems with the bill that would have to be worked out, including the treatment of rural counties.
Another is the potential that numerous candidates could get on the primary ballot and end up winning a party’s nomination without capturing a majority.
House Majority Leader Brad Dee said those are issues that the Legislature can address next year — because the changes to the nominating process will not take effect until the 2016 election.
Contrary to those who contend SB54s2 destroys the caucus system, Dee said he believes the bill is "the right way to preserve it, rather than let someone have control of it."
"I’m hoping that five to six years from now it’s stronger than it is," Dee said. "It is in the electorate’s hands … the voters and the citizens. This is where they need to take their responsibility and become involved."
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