Eric Eliason has been running for U.S. Congress as a member of the United Utah Party—needless to say, he is one of its members.
Imagine his surprise, then, when he got a voter card in the mail from his elections office indicating that he was registered as an unaffiliated voter, according to Richard Davis, UUP founder and chair.
Davis then took a look at the voter card he got a month earlier that indicated that he was a member of the UUP.
“Without his permission, someone in an elections office had changed his party affiliation so he was (no) longer affiliated with the UUP,” Davis wrote on the party blog.
That prompted Jim Bennett, a prior UUP, to assess his party registration. He learned that he was no longer listed as affiliated with UUP as before even though he ran a vlog the prior year indicating that he had joined the UUP, according to Davis.
There have been other accounts, too, of people who learn they are not registered with the UUP after signing up, thus, needing to do it again, Davis wrote. The Deseret News reported that the UUP affiliation of party social media manager Jared Oates vanished.
Davis appeared upset that while this is occurring, the Utah Lieutenant Governor’s Office, which administers elections in the Beehive State, has told press that the UUP has the lowest party affiliation numbers in the state.
“Reporters are making a point of saying that few people are registering as UUP affiliates,” Davis wrote. “In fact, our enrollment is going up, but not as fast as we might expect.”
Citing a “history of non-cooperation” by the LG’s office, Davis wonders if an individual is failing to record UUP re-registrations and if a person in the elections office is altering a voter’s party affiliation without their permission.
“All we want to do is start a new party and compete in elections like everyone else,” Davis wrote. “We are not asking for any special favors. And we expect that people who sign up with our party get to be so registered and that they are able to stay that way. That is not asking for too much.”
Davis proceeded to call for an independent election commission to run elections in Utah.
Davis sent a letter May 11 to State Elections Director Justin Lee asking for an investigation, citing instances including the ones in this article where party members learned that their affiliation had disappeared without their approval, the Deseret News’ Lisa Riley Roche wrote.
Lee remarked that his office “will be looking into the issues,” the Deseret News reported. “We encourage anyone who believes there is an issue with their voter registration to contact their county clerks or the lieutenant governor’s office.”
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