Under SB54, we were forced to surrender our ballot…but we will not surrender our votes, endorsement, or the precious resources necessary to fulfill our mission as Republicans.
As members of the Utah Republican Party (UTGOP), “we are grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, desiring to perpetuate principles of free government and the blessings of liberty to our posterity.” Our State Party Constitution, our County Party Bylaws, and Robert’s Rules of Order Current Edition are the exclusive governing rules of the WCGOP.
Our general purpose is to “nominate and support the election of Republican candidates in partisan races for public office, promote the principles set forth in the State Party Platform, and perform Party functions set forth in the election laws of the State of Utah and the Constitution and Bylaws” of the WCGOP.
Our Party has members, officers, delegates, and a County Central Committee (CCC). All have their responsibilities within the Party. The CCC is made up of all county Precinct Chairs and Vice Chairs with the closest proximity to party membership. As a deliberative assembly, the CCC’s general purpose is to effectively govern the county Party. The CCC meets to determine, in full and free discussion, courses of action to be taken by the Party. Our governing documents contain a complete set of rules for conducting the Party’s business and establishing the rights of its members. As members of the CCC, we are responsible for following these rules within our governing documents, and ignorance of the contents of our governing documents is not an excuse for not following them. We can and will be held accountable for their content no matter how familiar we are with them.
The object of these rules of order is to facilitate the smooth functioning of the deliberative assembly and to provide a firm basis for resolving questions of procedures that may arise. Making members aware of the rules and enforcing these rules will undoubtedly lead to a more civil and productive debate, which is one of the most important concepts underlying parliamentary procedure.
WHY ARE RULES IMPORTANT?
A society requires rules for a smooth functioning and peaceful environment. Rules are drafted within an organization to maintain justice and equality amongst its members and avoid abuses within its jurisdiction. Rules can protect victims and punish offenders for unjust actions. If a member of a society violates a rule, they have no alternative but to accept the punishment.
If a society does not have a strong rule system, meeting goals and objectives can be impossible. Without rules, every individual will have their own thoughts independent of the society’s stated goals and objectives. Such a society can be disastrous and difficult to survive in. People will take revenge for minute things in a never-ending process of doing anything to get what they want. Lastly, the society will be entirely based on misconduct and unlawful activities.
THE STATE LEGISLATURE CHANGED OUR RULES
In 2014, our state legislature launched an attack on our Republican Party…they passed SB54.
SB54 changed our Party’s nomination process allowing candidates to use signatures rather than our caucus/convention delegate process to get on the primary ballot as a Republican.
This unconstitutional law has severely interfered with our Party’s established internal procedures. It changed the kinds of nominees our Party produces, it allows unwanted candidates to obtain our Party’s nomination, it causes divisiveness within our Party…and reduces the loyalty of candidates and elected officials to our Party’s policies.
Put together, these consequences severely burden our Party’s ability to choose a loyal nominee and, ultimately, our right to define ourselves and deliver our message.
SB54 allows for signature candidates to,
This signature gathering path violates our Party bylaw’s regarding our nomination process allowing anyone with means (by fame, fortune, or special interest money) to challenge our Party’s chosen convention candidate as an unwanted, and possibly hostile nominee denying the faithful delegate’s ability to hold rogue candidates accountable.
In sum, then, SB54 interferes with our Party’s internal procedures, changes the kinds of nominees our Party produces, allows unwanted candidates to obtain our Party nomination, causes divisiveness within our Party, and reduces the loyalty of candidates to our Party’s policies.
ENTER THE WCGOP CCC
According to our Party Bylaws, “the Executive Committee shall meet at least monthly, to conduct the business of the Party and shall be subject to direction from the County Central Committee.”
A few years ago, the CCC approved the following language to be added to our Bylaws.
“All ballots for the County Convention shall list candidates for voting, under one of the two categories below. The Convention agenda shall also list candidates under one of the two categories below.”
“The County Party Chair shall read aloud the following statement, to the delegates, immediately prior to the candidate speeches:”
“Our party was forced, by the 2014 Utah Legislature’s S.B. 54, to allow candidates who have gathered signatures rather than participating exclusively at our convention to be placed on the primary or general election ballot, in spite of our very successful and long held caucus / convention process.”
“Signature gathering circumvents our traditional vetting process and may bypass or discount the will of delegates’ votes entirely. This means that candidates of any party or ideology may be forced upon us. However, this does not mean that we need to support such candidates with our votes, our endorsement, or our resources. The ballots clearly identify which candidates respect our vetting process and the voice of the delegates at this convention.”
We believe this language underlined above is ambiguous and that this ambiguity places a conundrum on our rotating Party leadership whether to support or not support signature candidates with “our votes, our endorsement and our resources.” Party leadership changes every two years while our governing documents remain the same. This ambiguity has fostered divisions within our Party’s ability to meet our goals and objectives straining our credibility as a County Party.
Last Wednesday, September 28, 2022, the CCC met and approved a motion to direct the Executive Committee to make a change to our Bylaws acknowledging that Republican candidates seeking access to our ballot with signatures will not be rewarded with our Party’s votes, endorsement, or resources. The purpose of this motion is too “direct” the Executive Committee to make changes to our bylaws consistent with our support for “Convention-Only Candidates” as articulated in our bylaws.
Article IV, Section 4 of the US Constitution guarantees each state a Republican form of government. A republican form of government is a type of government in which a representative is elected by the people to govern over them.
According to existing case law, a political party has a First Amendment right to choose a candidate-selection process that will in its view produce the nominee who best represents its political platform. Indeed, the First Amendment affords “special protection” to “the process by which a political party selects a standard bearer who best represents the party’s ideologies and preferences.”
The CCC believes this bylaw change serves our mission to select a nominee faithful to our values and principles and therefore direct the Weber County Republican Party Executive Committee to make these changes to our Bylaws and return the change to the Central Committee at our next scheduled meeting for our endorsement.
While SB54 (until constitutionally challenged) allows any candidate who joins the Republican party to gain access to the ballot by bypassing our caucus convention process, it does not require the WCGOP to pledge our Party’s votes, endorsement, or resources to a signature candidate. We choose to operate under the rules established by our bylaws as approved by our CCC if those rules do not violate state law. Under SB54, we have surrendered our ballot…but will not surrender our votes, endorsement, or the precious resources necessary to fulfill our mission.